Wednesday, July 27, 2005

23 Days Late

(Cross-Posted at Memento Moron)

I have for some time found myself at a loss as to which modern American political movement closest matches my own beliefs, political views, and philosophies. I understand that it is more and more common, as well as admirable, for individuals to eschew party names or other labels in favor of voting their conscience. While this is an excellent way of applying your beliefs to your voting habits and to choices you make that affect political outcomes, it can become time-consuming in discussions to have to explain just what your beliefs are. Thus, it is often more efficient to identify yourself with a particular party or movement in general, and divulge any variations from that norm only when they are germane to the conversation. This becomes more problematic the more eclectic ones beliefs, I suppose. But I digress. Well, only just a little. The point is that while I find myself agreeing quite frequently with particular parties or movements, there have been numerous occasions where I’ve had to make exceptions to my support or agreement.

Over the course of the last year (wow, I’ve been doing this a year!), while expressing my own views on this blog, I’ve read the comments by my readers, and I’ve read other blogs and the comments by their readers, and in doing so, have learned more about politics and political theories and history than I ever knew before. And while I’m still a novice in such things, I feel confident in saying that I now understand my OWN political views better.

There was a time when I was a staunch modern conservative. This was as a very young person, and was mostly influenced by my family upbringing. During my college and early adult years, I was strongly influenced by opinions and attitudes within the culture of Christian Missionaries, which is what I aspired to be. This led to an odd mix of beliefs all based on what I perceived to be sound biblical doctrine, and I suppose you could say I was socially conservative, fiscally liberal, and a dove with regard to foreign policy. The High Water Mark for my adherence to these positions was in

Churchill’s comment about the effects of age on ones politics certainly rang true in my case, and as time wore on and I began to think out certain positions I held, I grew more hawkish and more fiscally conservative. On social issues, I found myself growing more conservative on some points and more liberal or moderate on others. Eventually I found myself once again firmly in what I believed to be the Republican camp (and, to be honest, that is the way I usually vote), though I found, and find, myself more in agreement with libertarians on some issues.

From there my understanding of my own views evolved to the point where I considered my self a constitutionalist. I believed, and for the most part still believe, that the Constitution was and should be the final benchmark for law in the United States.

But recently I found myself challenged – not to question my belief in the Constitution, but to question its exact place in my political philosophy. As I mentioned in an essay early on in my blogging days, my political views are still guided by my religious beliefs, as horrifying as that might be to some. The First Amendment was established, I believe, not to prevent an individual’s religious beliefs from having ANY effect on that individual’s political views, but rather to prevent organized religion from dictating public policy, and to prevent government from dictating religious doctrine. Therefore, I reject the Separation of Church and Brain.

This has put me in a dilemma with regards to my stance as a constitutionalist on several occasions, the most notable of which was the Schiavo case. Without launching into a separate debate on the merits of that case, for the purpose of THIS discussion, it must suffice that I believed I was helping to defend an innocent life in taking the stand I did on that occasion. In doing so, and in actively following the blogosphere’s discussion of the case, I was challenged by a post by Naked Villainy’s Smallholder, questioning the depth of commitment to the Constitution of Republican congressmen who were interfering in the case; and the depth of commitment to the Constitution of conservatives in general by their approval of these actions.

And while I’m not sure he was 100% right (not being as much of an expert in the Constitution as I am a believer), he did have a point, one I had to consider and finally concede, at least on my own behalf. In this case, I had to admit, I was willing to waver in my commitment to the constitution in order to remain firm in my commitment to defending life. I found myself further troubled when confronting the argument that the Federal Government was acting unconstitutionally in waging the Civil War, a war I believe achieved great good. This put me, you can imagine, in the unenviable position of once again needing to readjust exactly how I represented myself politically. Eventually I concluded that I still considered myself a constitutionalist, but what I call a Means Constitutionalist, as opposed to an Ends Constitutionalist. By that, of course, I mean that I believe that adherence to the Constitution is NOT the highest end of American Law, but rather, that the Constitution itself is the greatest means by which we strive to the highest ends of American Law. And what is that highest end?

For a very long time, in fact, ever since the days when I was an anti-abortion socialist-leaning pacifist, I held firm to a belief that in arguing the constitutional merits of any given policy or law, modern politicians were overlooking the importance of the Preamble to the Constitution. It was, and is, my belief that within the Preamble, the framers laid out exactly what end they intended to achieve, and in the rest of the Constitution, expounded on how to achieve it.

These are the ends of Law in the United States, and of the Constitution itself: Union, Justice, Domestic Tranquility, Common Defense, General Welfare, and Liberty. Any law that opposes those ends, whether technically adherent to the rest of the Constitution or not, should be opposed. Any law that promotes those ends, whether technically adherent to the rest of the Constitution or not, should be supported. The former should be rendered unconstitutional as quickly as possible, the latter rendered constitutional. But if the day ever comes when the Constitution ceases to uphold those ends, I will cease to be a constitutionalist. In short, my loyalty to the Constitution and to the United States is conditional upon their loyalty to the principles upon which they were founded.

How can I say such a thing? Sedition! Well, not yet. But sadly, the day may come when my words above would be seditious. So be it. For this belief of mine is based on another set of words that were, when coined, equally seditious. But you just said that the Constitution is the final authority on what the ends of our law are! No, I said that the Constitution, or specifically the Preamble, expresses what those ends ARE, and the rest of the Constitution expounds on how they’re to be achieved, but it is not the final AUTHORITY on what they are. Well, then, what or who is? I am. You are. We all are, individually and collectively.

It’s simple, really. With regards to the end of American government, the Constitution addresses almost all of the most important “5W/H” questions:

Who?
We the People of the United States

What?
in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
Where?
Philadelphia

When?
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven

How?
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Notice the glaring omission?

Why?

At first blush, I thought that that was what the preamble was about. But I came to believe that the preamble explains WHAT we are setting out to do. But why do we want to form this more perfect union? Why bother creating this finely crafted, well-thought out document?

I finally concluded that the reason WHY, the authority and motivation behind the Constitution, could be found in a document several years older than the Constitution. And I have come to view THIS document as the authority on which rests the constitution. Of course, I am referring to the Declaration of Independence. Specifically, I believe the foundational concept, the authority upon which rests the entire US Constitution and government, is expressed in the following clause from the Declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

...That’s it. That’s why we have a constitution, why we have THIS constitution. And the rest of that clause goes on to explain why I think it right and proper and altogether fitting to hold to the position I do, which is that I am a constitutionalist only as long as the Constitution achieves this end. Because I believe…

...That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Monday, July 25, 2005

House Renews Expiring Sections of USA PATRIOT Act

With a second round of attempted terror attacks in London on their minds, the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday night approved 16 expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, making 14 of them permanent and extending two of the most controversial provisions for ten years.

The USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 passed by a vote of 257-171, with 43 Democrats joining Republicans. (Fourteen Republicans voted against the bill.)


This is the same kind of post-terror panic that prompted the legislature to overwhelmingly pass the "PATRIOT" Act in the first place, effectively creating a loophole around the Constitution and allowing the "authorities" to stomp on our rights.

This is one of the few times in my life you will find me agreeing with Nancy Pelosi, who stated, "I listened intently to the gentleman from Virginia, [Rep. Rich Boucher (D-Va.], when he described in detail the serious constitutional issues concerning Section 505...by which the government possesses power to seize citizens' medical and other personal records without notice, without the ability to challenge these orders, and without meaningful time limitations. And for this reason, I will join Mr. Boucher in opposing this legislation, but with the hope that it will be improved in conference."

There are other questionable and barely constitutional provisions in this legislation. For a more in-depth analysis, check out an article I did a few years ago, describing the slow, systematic death of the Bill of Rights.

One of my favorite novels describes the concept of terrorism in very precise terms. "Quite simply, the goal of terrorism is to create terror and fear. Fear undermines faith in the establishment. It weakens the enemy from within … causing unrest in the masses. ...Terrorism is not an expression of rage. Terrorism is a political weapon. Remove a government’s fa├žade of infallibility, and you remove its people’s faith.”

This is exactly what the terrorists around the world are doing. They are inciting panic, causing governments such as ours to clamp down on the citizens, to destroy their rights and freedoms -- all in the name of appearing a bit less ineffective and powerless than they really are.

The "authorities" are fighting terrorism with smoke and mirrors.

If, in fact, the goal of terrorism is to destroy the populace's faith in the government's power to protect the people and cause unrest from within, those in power are simply trying to create the illusion that tyrannical measures such as the "PATRIOT" Act allow them to better protect the people.

In fact, all they're doing is turning America into a minimum security prison.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dry Warfare

If ever you need a classic example of how the denial of basic rights makes criminals of honest men and women, look at the predicament of our armed forces currently deployed in Iraq.

I work on a dry military base in Iraq as a civilian supporting the military, and I can report that prohibition has made criminals of us all. We smuggle, we sell, we steal, we get smashed. We cache alcohol around bases like so many weapons of mass destruction. And at night, we nurse our illegal beers while watching the flashes of firefights and air assaults in the distance. When mortars land nearby, we reach for the next round and toast to the fact that we’re still around to have something to toast to, clean underwear be damned.

But we also drink in fear and in melancholy sympathy. A knock on the door from the military police could mean our jobs — or in the case of those in uniform, their rank, pension, and ability to go home soon to their wives, husbands, and kids.

For the soldiers brave enough to face the horrors of combat but too timid to face the horrors of military justice, the indignities are extreme. After hours in the desert sun under body armor, the chow-halls insult them with massive ice-cold slabs of non-alcoholic beer. It is a credit to our armed forces that these near beers go mostly untouched.


Many of you reading this remember when States were blackmailed into raising the drinking age to 21. Do y'all remember the classic argument? I do. And I'm also here to tell you that not only is that argument still valid, but the predicament is worse than ever. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the fact that our nations young men and women can die for their country but are not allowed even a modest drink!

We as a country have permitted this outrage for almost 20 years!

Even if one is of "legal drinking age," one is still risking one's livelihood, job, or military career by committing the heinous and unforgivable act of simply having a well earned beer or shot of whiskey after escaping death while defending against religious fanatics who want to kill us all for, among other things, our choice to drink alcohol. We can fight these fundamentalist lunatics abroad, but who's going to fight the fundamentalist lunatics at home who would ruin our lives for the same "offense?"

Let's talk about the guy who ran Beer For Soldiers, simply for the purpose of raising funds to legally buy soldiers over 21 a beer. Click on the link and see what became of his site and that will tell you everything you need to know.

Many of you reading this have served and know what a blessing such small comfort as a strong drink can be. Why in the hell would anyone want to deny those comforts to the very people who are defending the dwindling freedom for that comfort to exist? There can be no motive save for pure malice. And there is absolutely no excuse to tolerate this double standard any longer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Say what?

Not only do we have politicians in government failing to do their job, we now have politicians promising to aid these illegal invaders.
Speaking to the nations' largest Hispanic civil rights organization, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., received a standing ovation Monday when she vowed her support for legislation that would allow illegal immigrant high school students to attend college.

Monday, July 18, 2005

UN Butting In

Via Michelle Malkin.

It seems our "friends" in Turtle Bay have decided they want control over the internet.
At issue for the group is who runs the internet and how it can better serve the world. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has long pressed industry, government and private interest groups to ensure that people in poor nations have greater access to the internet.

Among the governance options put forward by the group were a continuation of the current system, creation of a world body to address public policy issues stemming from the work of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) and creation of a body to address a broader range of public policy issues. The fourth option is to create three bodies, one to address policy issues, one for oversight and one for global coordination.

It's bad enough we have our own government trying to regulate what we can or cannot do or say on the internet, but the UN's track record of "governance" is even worse. I forget who said it, but someone once said "Giving the UN control over anything is like giving a drunk teenager the keys to your Porsche. It can only lead to disaster."

I tend to agree with that sentiment.

Light posting

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. It's not that we have lost our dislike at the slow death of the U.S. Constitution at the hands of the government, but things in our personal lives have been moving at a fairly fast pace. Once things slow down, we will resume our regularly scheduled rants.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Invasion USA

Heres a little excerpt from the U.S. Constitution:
Section. 8.
Clause 1: 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

As it stands today, the government continues to fail its Constitutional duty of defending the United States from foreign invasion. Every year, hundreds of thousands of illegal invaders cross U.S. borders unhindered. The government has neither the will nor the desire to stop them. In fact, the opposite is true.

Let's take a look at the government's latest effort to address this problem:

McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill Opens the Border

by James R. Edwards, Jr.
Posted Jul 12, 2005

At a time of sustained, mass immigration, a glut of unskilled foreign workers, unrelenting illegal immigration and fiscal overload, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., propose to flood America with more of the same.

Their recently introduced legislation, S. 1033, creates two supposedly temporary work visas. Those programs are vehicles to legalize all 10-12 million illegal aliens.

Read the rest here.

That's right. Sens. McCain and Kennedy are drafting an amnesty bill with the intent to reward invaders for breaking U.S. immigration laws. Social services, such as welfare, healthcare, edcuation, etc., for llegal immigrants costs the state of Texas an estimated $4.7billion/yr and the state of California an estimated $10.1billion/yr, yet no government agency seems to want to do anything to prevent this.

Illicit drug trade and an increased threat terrorism are other risks of our current "open borders" policy.

In April of this year, A group of concerned citizens calling themselves the "Minuteman Project" gathered along the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona. The MMP proved, beyond any doubt, that beefed up security along the border can help stem the tide of this illegal invasion. What was the government's response? Ordering the Border Patrol to "stand down" to minimize the success of the MMP.

This is yet another example of where the government has seen fit to ignore the U.S. Constitution in the name of political expediency. And, for some unknown reason, we keep electing the clowns that allegedly represent us in government.

When is enough truly enough? When do we start holding elected officials accountable for their inaction?

"Authorities" steal? Say it ain't so!

Cross posted over at the Liberty Zone. Thanks to Publicola for bringing it to the forefront of my mind.

We know the "authorities" can now steal your land with impunity, thanks to the Kelo decision. But before the Supremes decided your home wasn't really yours if Wal Mart decides it would be better suited as a Mecca of low quality shopping for the inbred...

..."Authorities" around the nation have been stealing for decades!

Publicola has brought one such despicable action to our attention today.

Apparently, an 84 year old man in Indiana shot and killed a burglar in February of this year. The District Attorney called this a justifiable homicide, but apparently, the stealing scum that pass for stellar law enforcement professionals out there in Indiana have decided that Mr. Robert Birtwhistle's gun is part of a "death investigation," and ergo, will be kept forever for their "own records."

Mr. Britwhistle is understandably upset. "I'm an easy target... I'm feeble and have no (lung capacity). ... As far as I'm concerned, they have stolen that gun."

More from Publicola:

Damn right they stole it.

See a lot of gun owners would argue that any gun used in a shooting, even a justifiable one, can morally be taken to make sure the shooting was in fact justifiable. But since it's been 5 months & the DA has already called it a justifiable shooting, not to mention Mr. Schaffer's confession, we can avoid any such arguments. They stole a gun from an 84 year old man & they are not ashamed of it.

Of course they should return the firearm to Mr. Birtwhistle immedietely. I don't mean that sometime later today they can tell him to come pick it up; I mean they should put Mr. Schaffer in a squad car (in the back of course) & have a cop drive him & Mr. Birtwhistle's firearm (with the blue lights on) to Mr. Birtwhistle's home, return it, then have Mr. Schaffer lay prostrate at Mr. Birtwhistle's feet whilst he begs forgiveness for his justification of his larceny. Then the cop should leave after escorting Mr. Schaffer off Mr. Birtwhistle's property but without offering him a lift back to clean out his desk. & the people involved should pony up a suitable sum out of their own pockets to attempt to compensate Mr. Birtwhistle for the trauama caused by their theivery. (sic)

"I can't get (that February) incident out of my mind,' [Birtwhistle] said. 'If I'm not doing something, I'm thinking about it. The main thing is, I need protection. I'm getting along fine, but I'd get along better with that gun.

"Eighty four friggin year old man has to plead for his means of defense back from the government who said he hasn't done anything wrong. Mr. Birtwhistle has a shotgun, but he prefers the pistol. Why?

"Recently, Birtwhistle has taken his grandfather's shotgun, which he's had locked away, to his bedroom for protection, but he still prefers his former weapon. 'The revolver is easier to use; it makes me feel more comfortable,' he said."

An 84 year old man is using his grandfather's shotgun as a means of defense. Now I agree that a shotgun is much better than a handgun for repelling invaders, but not if you're too infirm to work the damn thing right. Besides, we're talking about an 84 year old man's grandfather's shotgun. A conservative estimate would be that his grandfather was born 124 years ago. That'd be 1881. Let's assume his grandfather didn't acquire the shotgun in question until he was 30. That'd be 1911. (I know; a fine year for pistols.) Now a lot of firearms from around then work just fine but odds are we're talking about a single or double barrel shotgun. It was probably made well enough that with decent care it should be in fine working condition today. But we're still talking about a 7 to 9 pound shotgun that an 84 year old man would have to work.

The bastards should give the old man his pistol back. Then they should all be given a good switchin' - the kind where they have to pick out their own switch. & if they come back with a skinny little one you make them go back a bring a handful.

Deplorable. Abso-friggin-lutely deplorable. Until Mr. Birtwhistle's firearm is returned, I sincerely hope all responsible develop painful boils in embarrassing places.

Call. Write. Ask why the hell they're keeping an elderly man's property (& his preferred means of defense) contrary to all decency & morality, not to mention the law. If you wish to try to reason with them, here's the contact info & some choice bits from Indiana's Constitution

St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office
227 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Suite 1000
South Bend, IN 46601
(574) 235-9544

May I also humbly suggest that maybe a whole bunch of well-meaning gun rights supporters help this gentleman out and maybe help him purchase a weapon? It's doubtful the thieving scum in Mishawaka will listen to reason.

Just a thought.
Nicki

Monday, July 11, 2005

Carnival of Liberty #2

Here is the Carnival of Liberty #2.

Read and enjoy.

The Supreme Court's Power

The kind of government that is strong enough to give you everything you need is also strong enough to take away everything that you have.

President Ronald Reagan
1911—2004

How did the Judicial Branch become the end all be all of the American Government?

It is clear that Judges now think they are not responsible to either of the other two branches of our government; this was clearly exemplified in the Terri Shivo debacle, when a judge ignored the congressional subpoena. It was a message to congress that they can not interfere in matters that the courts. Right or wrong on that issue, it doesn’t matter, what does matter is that the court ignored congress, telling them that they do not have the power to correct the courts.

How did this situation come to be? It has been a slow process that started when the courts started finding meanings in the constitution that were not there. This can be traced all the way back to Mayberry v. Madison, when the court first asserted authority and established Judicial Review. Many important and helpful decisions have come out of the court system over the years, such as the federal banking system. Decisions like that were able to find basis in the constitution, how ever, some decisions were found that there is absolutely no basis for.



There are a lot of misconceptions about the Constitution the following is a partial list of items not mentioned in the constitution:

Judicial Review
Separation of Church and State
The Right to Travel
Right to Privacy
Innocent until proven guilty
Jury of Peers
The Right to Vote

These things are not bad things, and most are addressed in amendments, however it is a stretch to say that some of these things mean what the Supreme Court has said that they do.

President Reagan once said:
The kind of government that is strong enough to give you everything you need is also strong enough to take away everything that you have.

Who knew it would only be a matter of years?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Police Still Using Matrix-Type Database

My apologies for the short hiatus. Had National Guard drill all weekend, and had spent a significant portion of last week preparing. However, back to the slow, systematic death of the Constitution.......

Here's an exerpt:
When the federal government in April stopped funding a database that lets police quickly see public records and commercially collected information on Americans, privacy advocates celebrated what they saw as a victory against overzealousness in the fight against terrorism.

But a few states are pressing forward with a similar system, continuing to look for ways to quickly search through a trove of data - from driver's license photos to phone numbers to information about people's cars. Their argument in seeking to keep the Matrix database alive in some form: it's too important for solving crimes to give up on.

Florida, Ohio, Connecticut and Pennsylvania still use software that lets investigators quickly cull through much of the data about people that reside in cyberspace. However, without the federal grant for the Matrix data-sharing system, they won't be routinely searching through digital files from other states - at least for now.

Privacy advocates still don't like the idea, saying government shouldn't have easy access to so much information about people who haven't done anything wrong.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

They Would Make Informers Of Us All!

Hat tip to Craig at libertybellblog.

MADD, in their typicly underhanded fashion, wants to encourage us to get on our cell phones and rat people out. It looks like they didn't get the memo.

Drivers talking on cell phones were 18 percent slower to react to brake lights, the new study found. In a minor bright note, they also kept a 12 percent greater following distance. But they also took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked. That frustrates everyone.

"Once drivers on cell phones hit the brakes, it takes them longer to get back into the normal flow of traffic," Strayer said. "The net result is they are impeding the overall flow of traffic."

Strayer and his colleagues have been down this road before. In 2001, they found that even hands-free cell phone use distracted drivers. In 2003 they revealed a reason: Drivers look but don't see, because they're distracted by the conversation. The scientists also found previously that chatty motorists are less adept than drunken drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.08.


Or, more likely, they did get the memo but they just don't care! It seems to me that if MADD were truly interested in improving highway safety, they would incorporate a cell phone safety agenda into their platform. But I submit to you that this is further proof that MADD is not interested in safety but in prohibition. They want to offer up the paranoia that if you have a drink or two that you will be prosecuted by an army of your fellow motorists wielding their cell phones. They want to make you afraid to drink even moderatly, and along with manipulating the BAC and relying on the unconstitutional breathylizer machine, this is one more way to do that.

The hypocrites! They pretend to be family friendly by publicizing incidents where a drunk driver ran into a station wagon full and killed some kids, but they never tell you about the times when the drunk gets killed and the kids survive (which happens just about as often). Of course they don't want you to know about the 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries that sober drivers incur annually in this country while talking on their cell phones. That would just take the wind right out of their sales wouldn't it.

It would certainly put a dent in their funding that's for sure.

And it would be a lot harder to take away our constitutional rights based on cell phone usage because too many prominent people use them. They can't demonize cell phone users or portray them as criminals the way they can with casual drinkers and "drunks." One, there's too many people in government, law, and business that live by their cellphones, the very people that MADD wants to influence. Two, cell phone usage doesn't have the moral stigma that drinking does in American culture. Alcohol prohibition goes back hundreds of years in this country, from religious settlers who forbade strong drink, to Carrie Nation and her saloon smashers, to the prohibition years where booze was linked to violent crime, then to drunk driving, which, while it is a real threat, is highly exaggerated for MADD's political purposes.

One of the things MADD relies on is a public stereotype of the violent, drunken pariah who gets behind the wheel, reeking of booze, and selfishly decrying anyone who offers to get him a cab or take him home, and plows into a car full of innocent children. Never mind that the majority of folks who get busted for DWI/DUI with a .08, .04, or even .02 BAC after having a couple of drinks do not fit that stereotype. That's assuming they've even been drinking as it's not unheard of for designated drivers to get busted these days when a cop decided to arrest everyone in the car because one of the occupants smelled like booze. Hey, it's probable cause! And if the driver gets a false positive because he drank some milk, ate a bran muffin, or gargled some listerine, well it's obvious he's lying because he doesn't want to go to jail.

But MADD can't very well paint a negative stereotype in the public eye of a raving, violent cell phone user, reeking of....I dunno, plastic and car air freshner?. It just doesn't work, does it? Particularly when minds they would plant that stereotype in are the very same people using the phones.

So I guess the way MADD sees it is that it's better for more people to die at the hands of cell-phone using drivers in order to ferret out a few more suspected "drunks" and further their neoprohibitionist agenda. I wonder how they sleep at night.

Attacks in London

By now, we all know about the attacks that took place in London earlier today. I'm not going to post too much about it here because, quite frankly, it's all over the blogosphere. I do, however, wish to offer my sincere condolences to the people of Britain in the wake of this tragedy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A closer look at the Bill of Rights

Here is the Bill of Rights as it stands today after having been ravaged for years by politicians and judges with an agenda.

Article [I.]
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.

Article [II.]
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.


Article [III.]
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article [IV.]
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.


Article [V.]
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article [VI.]
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Article [VII.]
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article [VIII.]
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article [IX.]
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Article [X.]
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people
.

Life, Liberty, and Property

CDP has joined the Life,
Liberty, and Property blogging community
.

Coming soon: Carnival of Liberty #2.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What kind of Justice will Bush nominate?

Last week, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court after having served on the bench for 24 years. Since then, much speculation, and not a little hyperbole, has been put forth as to whom President Bush will nominate to replace O’Connor.

On the conservative side, there is hope that Bush will nominate someone who will render judgments based on the Constitution. There is also trepidation that Bush will – once again – disappoint conservatives and nominate a moderate wildcard. On the liberal side, there is fear that Bush will nominate a “far-right religious nut.”

Naturally, there can’t be any form of controversy without hyperbole or extremist rhetoric. The National Organization of Women has declared a "'state of emergency' for women’s rights" in response to O’Connor’s retirement notice.

I know where the members of the CDP team stand, but it’s time to put the question to our readers: What kind of Justice will Bush nominate? I have added a poll to the sidebar to facilitate this.

Vote in the poll, and please feel free to leave a comment telling us why you voted the way you did.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Independence Day Weekend

As the Foruth of July is nigh upon us, we here at CDP would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day. Since most of us will be spending time with family and friends, there probably will not be much in the way of posting over the weekend.

Take care and have fun,
The CDP Team

State of the Blog Address

Last Thursday night, Brian and I came up with the concept of this blog as a means of expressing our disgust with the repeated government assaults on our fundamental rights as they are laid out in the U.S. Constitution. We figured posting on this blog would be cathartic - a way to vent our frustrations in a manner with which we were proficient: writing. We also decided to invite several other bloggers to join us in our frustrated rants.

That said, no one on the CDP team suspected this blog would take off as quickly as it has. Since late Monday evening, when I added the hit counter, we have received almost 900 hits. On behalf of the CDP team, I would like to extend our thanks everyone who has stopped by. We would also like to give special thanks to those who have helped contribute to this blog's content.

In the near future, probably sometime in the next week or so, I will be taking the time to rewrite the blog template to make it neater and more pleasing to look at. I'll post a warning before I do the actual update in case things don't go well and the blog starts acting funny.

Also, PLEASE don't hesitate to either leave a comment or to email us. Constructive feedback and content recommendations will always be welcome.

Thanks,
Vic

Supreme Court from a gun owner's point of view

Also cross posted at the Liberty Zone.

Supreme Court batle begins as Justice O'Connor retires

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her resignation Friday, setting off a long-anticipated ideological battle surrounding the Bush administration's choice for her replacement. The last Supreme Court opening was 11 years ago.

O'Connor, 75, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was the first woman on the court and in recent years has been a crucial
swing vote on several landmark decisions. Her retirement was not unexpected, but Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who has thyroid cancer, had been the primary focus of speculation.

So how many are expecting Bush to actually appoint a strict constitutionalist to the Supreme Court? Raise your hands!

It ain't gonna happen, folks! From a gun owner's perspective, this is frightening. Remember, the current Bush appointed Reggie B. Walton as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia! Why does this upset me? This is why.

A federal judge upheld the District's 28-year-old gun-control law yesterday, rejecting a legal challenge from a group of citizens backed by the National Rifle Association.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton dismissed a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs had contended that the law violated their Second Amendment right to own guns. The D.C. law prohibits ownership or possession of handguns and requires that other arms, such as shotguns, be kept unloaded, disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.


In a 64-page opinion, Judge Walton ruled that the Second Amendment is not a broad-based right of gun ownership.


"The Second Amendment does not confer an individual a right to possess firearms. Rather, the Amendment's objective is to ensure the vitality of state militias," Judge Walton wrote.

How about Bush's appointment of a certified gun-grabber to the post of Attorney General?

Testifying before the U.S. Senate last week, Alberto Gonzales announced he supports President Bush's position on the semi-auto ban.

"The president has made it clear that he stands ready to sign a reauthorization of the federal assault weapons ban if it is sent to him by Congress," Gonzales said. "I, of course, support the president on this issue.

"While some might be tempted to give Gonzales a "pass" since he was parroting his boss' position, Gonzales went even further, indicating that gun control was a heart-felt position of his own.

He spoke of his brother, who is a Houston SWAT officer, and said, "I worry about his safety and the types of weapons he will confront on the street." Hence, he supports a prohibition on semi-automatics that, in truth, only amounts to a ban on ugly guns.

Now, I ask AGAIN: Does ANYONE actually believe that Bush will appoint a constitutionalist to the Supreme Court?

(*insert cricket chirping sound effect here*)

The Fight Is On, But Be Not Weary

Cross-Posted at Memento Moron.

So Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring.

Good.

As Ace has pointed out, O'Connor has been inconsistent, even self-contradictory, in her rulings, and her opinions tend to muddy the waters, not clear them, which is one of the main purposes of the court.

So who will replace her? I honestly don't know. I'm not a legal wonk, and don't know the roster of judges from whom to choose. I will make one predicition:

It will be a woman.

The precedent, if you'll pardon the pun, was set when Clarence Thomas was nominated to fill the vacancy left by Thurgood Marshall. It can be argued either that Bush 41 knew that any nomination other than another African American would be attacked as being damaging to the progress of Civil Rights, or that he made sure his nominee was black to defuse any furor over his nominee's politics (a tactic that failed, as we all recall), or, most likely, both. Based on this precedent, I find it highly unlikely that we'll end up with anyhting but another woman to replace O'Connor. The perception has become that if the position was filled by a minority in the past, it must be filled by that same minority in the future. And that's too bad.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying there are no women qualified for the position, nor that the MOST qualified candidate isn't a woman. Again, I don't know who the candidates are. But I am arguing that it shouldn't be a prerequisite that the candidate be a woman.

The reasoning behind the trend are understandable, if mistaken. It's the same reason that people alaways want to see more minority members of congress, or of the workplace. The argument is that those places should be representative of the population. And in the case of Congress, it's at least an arguable point. A representative from the same ethnic group and culture may be better equipped to represent their desires and opinions and priorities.

But the Supreme Court is not intended to be the House of Representatives. It's the judicial Branch, not the Legislative. It's job is to interpret the law, not make it. Thus, the prime requirement for a member of SCOTUS should be an understanding of the Constitution.

Not membership in a particular demographic.

O'Connor retiring from SCOTUS

Various news agencies are reporting that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement from the Supreme Court.

My prediction:

  1. Bush will once again disappoint conservatives by nominating a moderate.

  2. or

  3. The Dems in Congress will filibuster their little hearts out until 2008.


Either way, the chances of getting a real conservative - one who will use the Constitution as the basis of rulings, rather than international law - on the bench is negligible.

A heap of.......... something

Julian Sanchez of Reason Magazine shows the dangers of stare decisis and slippery slopes in America's courts.

Here's the bottom line:

Stare decisis is an important guarantor of stability in legal rules: By insisting on like treatment of like cases, it provides people with a more detailed sense of when they're engaged in constitutionally protected conduct than the stripped-down language of the Constitution alone ever could. But legal rules, to be legitimate, should also reflect a shared public understanding. That's not to say the polls must vindicate each particular court ruling. But when stability begins to undermine the public's sense that they understand the most fundamental rules by which they're governed, it's a sign that jurists need to be willing to step back and see the heap.