Friday, June 27, 2014

The Bill of Rights was appended to the Constitution. It was intended to ensure that the Democrtic process could not be stifled. The framers recognized that the right to speak one's mind freely and to assemble were intiregal to successfully maintaining a democracratic government.

They did not envision that the right to free speech meant that one citizen has a right to block another citizen's path and impede their rights to pursue their own legal objectives. They did not envision this as an entitlement to scream one's views at someone else, because the speaker disapproves of somene's personal choices. We all have a right to speak our mind freely and to assemble, but a healthy Democracy does not require that this happen in another citizen's face. It was intended to ensure that people could speak freely about issues and disagree with the government without fear of government retailation.

The Supreme Court Justices (who are appointed government officials) believe's that they have a right to use the whole huge Courtyard out front of the Court as a buffer zone. Justice Robert's says he sees no problem with the protesters in front of Clinics who just want to speak with their fellow citizens. But if we just want to speak to our fellow citizens on the Supreme Court (who make decisions affecting our lives), he sees a problem. Is this hypocracy?

Justice Robert's who is in sympathy with the anti-choice protestors characterizes blocking paths, screaming, assault and murder as just wanting to talk to fellow citizen's. When someone insists on speaking to me and I don't want to talk with them, it is harassment! It is not free speech. I also should have the right to not listen and persue my business.

Our Country does limit freedom of assembly from some places. Most assemblies on public property require permits (which are not always approved). When TC NOW was picketing Hobby Lobby we were forced to picket from outside their parking lot, even though this area is open to the public. When Bush didn't want to be bothered by protesters, they set up free speech zones. These were far away from him and the media. This same tactic was used frequently with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Apparently free speech zones are constitutional to marginalize left wing protestors from elected officials.

The anti-choice supporters are free to speak their mind through mailings, media, rallies and various other venues. They can reach out to women who are considering their choices about a pregnancy (in fact various organizations already do). They already had a free speech zone that included the whole country except within a 35 ft radius of a clinic). This is a far larger free speech zone than Occupy Wall Street or the Bush protestors had. This zone is only necessary becasue they persist in harassing and violating individuals who wish to enter the clinics.

Shame on the activist Justices (many who claim to be strict constructionists) for extending the right of free speech to the right to harass other citizens of whose actions you disapprove. Shame on the Justices who (while still believing in buffer zones) ruled out buffer zones to protect the health, safety, and free access of women seeking healthcare and providers. Shame on the 4 liberal judges, who can't connect the dots and realize that free speech is not always absolute. There is not a right of free speech to yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre. In the same sense, free speech should not be extended to enable harassment, intimidation, assault, and murder.

If buffer zones are inherently unconstitutional, then theirs is too! Perhaps this should be challenged and taken to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In a recent article in Slatest Dahlia Lithwick connects the dots on the movement to increase the definition of person hood.
At one end we have Far right attempts to declare fetuses and even zygotes persons. At the other end is Hobby Lobby's attempt to increase the definition of corporate person hood in order to force its religious beliefs on its employees.
In both cases this extension of person hood diminishes the rights and person hood of actual people.
Lithwick sums it up very effectively: "If the far right succeeds in stretching these two legal fictions to their illogical extremes, American “person hood” will begin at conception, diminish somewhat at birth, and regain its force upon incorporation?"
Read the full article.

She Walks The Walk

We should all be very proud of our Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. She doesn't just talk about ending sexual harassment in the military. She walks the walk. She is willing to cross other Democrats, when necessary, to do what is right. The following is an excerpt from a NY Times article.
New York's Junior Senator, Doggedly Refusing to Play the Part by Jennifer Steinhauer The New York Times
If there were a chutzpah caucus in the United States Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York would be its natural leader.
On a fund-raising swing through Chicago this fall, she told donors to pressure their hometown senator — Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat who is one of the most powerful men in the Senate — because he had yet to sign on to her bill to address sexual assault in the military. Mr. Durbin fumed when he heard about the move, an unusual breach in the protocol-conscious Senate.
She defies her party in smaller ways: After a bipartisan farm bill was cobbled together with great effort by her colleague Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Ms. Gillibrand tried to block cuts to food stamps that other Democrats said were needed to retain Republican support and brought in high-profile foodies from New York, including the celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, to fight it.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Some Employers Want the Right to Contol Your Health Care

Hobby Lobby has decided that because they have to provide Health insurance, their employees should not be covered for contraceptives. They have challenged Obama's Affordable Care Act in court.
Health care is a benefit. How is it distinguishable from a salary? Will they next decide that they must approve of how their employees spend their salary?
It is important to send a message to Hobby Lobby that they nor any other employer does not own their employees. They do not have a right to interfere in private health care decisions

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It must be sarcasm

I have been puzzled by the audience response at Republican debates.
I could not understand it when they cheered at the suggestion that if people
got seriously ill and could not afford health care, they should just die.
I could not understand how they could cheer in support of Cain as he
defended his right to sexually harass female employees and made Anita Hill
I could not understand how the audience could cheer Gingrich as he accused
the media of being liberal because they didn't ask Occupy Wall Street
distorted questions.
I puzzled over this and finally I had a revelation.
It must be
sarcasm! When I think about it this way, it was actually funny.
It is utterly absurd to believe that it is acceptable to allow sick people
to die for lack of health care in the wealthiest nation in the world .
It is
utterly absurd to think that using one's financial position over women to
extort sex is anything short of rape.
It is utterly absurd to believe that because people express that
corporations are not people and they need regulation and that over 25% of
the nation's wealth should not be concentrated in 2% of our population, that
they are claiming that businesses should not be allowed to make any profit.

It is even more absurd that people would cheer this. This is very funny
sarcasm. So why is no one laughing?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Republican claims of fiscal responsibilty is yet another lie.

Republican claims of fiscal responsibility is yet another lie.
The reality behind their 5 year plan belies their true objectives.
They propose 6 trillion in cuts to medicare and medicaid, environmental protection, and other programs that assist the poor and middle class. But do not be fooled into believing that this will all go to balance the budget. they plan 4 trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy.
Four trillion dollars in cuts to health care and the environment is solely to enable another 4 trillion dollars of cuts to the wealthy (who already pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the poor and middle class).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Truth Will Out!

While Wealthy corporations can spend millions to support Republicans (without even reporting it), Republicans continue to mount an attack on anything or anyone who might express opinions which differ from theirs.

1) They threaten to end funding for public radio and television.
2) They are systematically destroying unions
3) Now they are attacking the free speech of college professors, Gov Scott Walker and journalist Rachel Maddow.

State employees are often forbidden from supporting candidates or engaging in political campaigns. This was intended as a means to protect employees from being used by elected state officials, who might exploit them.
<A conservative Michigan think tank has requested all personal emails from labor studies faculty.
State employees can't support candidates, but they surely have a right to express their opinion on issues. Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed to every American. Well it used to be.
Oddly enough the think tank is concerned that labor relations professors might be expressing an opinion on labor issues. What next will Biology professors be forbidden from expressing their opinion on evolution?
Even more bizarre is their basis to request personal correspondence from an elected official (who surely has a right to express his opinion on issues) and Rachel Maddow (one of the few reporters who are not right wingers).

This is a blatant attack on anyone who would express opinions other than accepted Republican doctrine.
What are they so afraid of?
The Truth!
We must continue to speak the truth and speak it loudly.>

Social Security Under Attack!

Social Security is a Federal Insurance program into which every worker pays. In return workers have a guaranteed pension in their retirement and insurance/financial protection in the event of disability. It provides survivors benefits to protect a family after the loss of a bread winner.

It is entirely separate from the budget. Yet Republicans, who hate the Social Security program (or any program the doesn't make the rich richer), will attempt to cut Social security benefits under the guise of balancing the budget.

Any cuts to Social Security will be especially devastating to women. Women overall make less than men. Many women choose to take time from working out side the home in order to care for children. Because of this and the lower wages of women, women's social security benefits are lower. Many women already have inadequate or barely adequate Social Security benefits. They cannot afford cuts.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lessons of the Great Depression

Are we destined to repeat the great depression, because we failed to learn from it? Reagan initiated trickle down economics, deregulation, and the corrosion of collective bargaining rights. We slowly continue to implement it. Our wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the top 1% of Americans. The percentage of wealth concentrated in the top 1% of our population has only been this high one other time since 1913 (before the great crash and depression). Workers bargaining rights and progressive income taxes had insured that wealth was more evenly distributed and that America had a strong middle class. If giving the wealthy more money creates jobs and the wealthy have more money than they have had since 1929, why is unemployment so high? If their trickle down economic were a vaild theory , record wealth at the top should correlate with record employment. The hidden truth is that jobs are created when the middle class has money to spend and create small businesses. Trickle down creates increases in poverty, homelessness and unemployment. What direction are the extremists in this country pushing? To cut public jobs (increasing unemployment). Roosevelt took us out of the great depression with a public jobs program--not massive public job cuts. To cut Social Security benefits. Many elderly and disabled individuals who paid in and relied upon these benefits will be driven into the streets. Maybe we will throw them into concentration camps or execute them--like the Nazi's. To dismantle collective bargaining rights What will be left besides the rich, the slave labor (that makes them wealthy) and millions of homeless left to die in the streets. We must not sit back or be driven by these insane and faulty slogans. We must make this Country understand the dangerous path we are on before we all end up real life characters in "The Grapes of Wrath".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Judicial Nominations

Everytime (in recent history) Democrats have a President in the Whitehouse--Republicans hold up judicial nominations. During Clinton's term Republicans had control of the Senate and the held the Judiciary Committee in thrall to their own agenda.
So now when Democrats have a majority (and theoretically a filibuster proof majority), why has Obama been able to get only 3 of his 23 nominations on the bench. 90 Judiciary seats reamin empty and cases are backing up.
Republicans continue to hold our Country captive with their annonymous holds and filibuster threats. It is obvious to everyone else (if not yet to Obama) that bipartisanship won't work. Obama wishes to reduce partisan rancor over judicial nominations. One has to wonder how that could ever happen? As long as Democrats appoint judges who believe in the right to privacy and individual rights, Republicnas will be vehemently opposed.
The best part about having Democrats in control is that, we get to put judges on the bench who agree with us. Many women voted for Obama to protect the courts--not to appease Republicans.
The Democrats need to rally their majority to stand together and do the job they were elected to do. Obama needs to lead them and stop fretting about what the Republicans want. The Republicans want to be back in control. If the Democrats let the Republicans immobolize them, the people will return control to the Republicans.