Blog Archives

Want to know the Republican Strategy to beat Obama?

It’s been a secret plan, but it has many no-secret parts. Here’s a great overview and I urge you to watch it.

This plan has to be opposed, but you can’t oppose it until you know what it is… so warch and listen:

OK… are you ready to get going? Let’s make sure this doesn’t become the exclusive country of the Koch Brothers and their pals… They are pretty sure not to include you in their plans.

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Oral Argument on Health Care begins before the Supreme Court

I’ve been sitting watching C-Span 3 which is replaying the arguments today (the beginning of six hours of arguments over three days) – Today they debated whether the Healthcare Law includes a tax and, if so, does the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to decide the case.

Reuters did a summary of the morning’s session:

LEGAL QUESTION: Whether a challenge to the new requirement that most people in the U.S. buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty must wait until the penalty is due and a refund is sought. This provision of the law is known as the “individual mandate.” A central issue is whether the court should regard this as a general “penalty” or as a “tax” that would be covered by a U.S. tax law known as the Anti-Injunction Act, premised on the notion of “pay first, litigate later.”

* WHO ARGUED: Robert Long, of Covington and Burling, appointed by the court to argue that tax policy should apply and delay the case; Donald Verrilli, who as U.S. solicitor general is the government’s chief courtroom lawyer, and Gregory Katsas of Jones Day, who joined the government’s argument.

* THE HIGHLIGHTS INSIDE: A majority of justices across the ideological spectrum suggested by their questions that federal tax law would be no barrier to reaching the core question of whether Congress had the power to require people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

* INSIDE THE COURTROOM: Justice Clarence Thomas did not ask any questions during the session, his usual style during oral arguments. He last asked a question on Feb. 22, 2006, during arguments in a death penalty case. Among the spectators who got one of the coveted seats inside courtroom with the white marble columns and red velvet drapes were: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Attorney General Eric Holder; outspoken critic of the law Alabama Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions; and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has led the challenge by the 26 states.

* THE LOWDOWN OUTSIDE: Hundreds of supporters and protesters dueled on the sidewalk chanting and marching with signs declaring their feelings about the law.

* THE DAY’S QUOTE “FOR”: Kathie McClure, an Atlanta attorney, said the law has allowed her children, who suffer from epilepsy and diabetes and are now in their 20s, to get health insurance that they otherwise would not have had. McClure was first in line for a public seat ahead of Tuesday’s second day of arguments and has been camped out since Friday. “This is personal for me. This is about my children’s’ future. But it’s really also about all the other millions of people in America who are in their same situation. In America we spend a boatload of money, trillions of dollars, and still we have a very poor outcome for our people,” McClure said.

* THE DAY’S QUOTE “AGAINST”: Sally Oljar, from Seattle, said it defies the U.S. Constitution ,o force Americans to buy anything. “I’d like to think that the Supreme Court supports the Constitution. … If they don’t, then there are a lot of us who are ready to go to jail. The day hasn’t come when the government can force me to buy a damn thing,” she said.

* UP NEXT: Tuesday is the main event of the three days when the justices will hear arguments on whether Congress, in requiring that most people in the U.S. buy insurance by 2014, exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Supreme Court has posted the audio and transcript of the arguments on its website, here, and C-Span 3 will probably replay the session this afternoon and this evening (check listings.)

Bernie Sanders vs. Citizens United

Just a few days after Los Angeles California voted in a resolution that did not let Corporations be considered individuals, Bernie Sanders has proposed a Constitutional Amendment which will wipe out the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Here it is:

Sen. Sanders’ proposed Saving American Democracy amendment states:

SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.


Whether or not this will get anywhere has yet to be seen… but at least we can count on Bernie to keep it in front of the field during the upcoming elections.

The 112th Congress Gets Sworn In Today…

… and then the fun begins. It has already been scheduled for the House to present legislation to repeal the Health Care Bill on Friday, an action that will not be supported by the Senate and cannot possibly go through. It is being called “symbolic.”

They will open the first session of the House by reading the US Constitution in its entirety. This is most certainly another “symbolic” event and is being done in deference to the Tea Party movement. When brought up by new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, he confused the wording of the Constitution with the opening of The Declaration of Independence… so maybe it is a good idea that they actually listen to what IS in the Constitution.They might not find what they are looking for, however.

Editorial Cartoonist Ben Sargent summed up the call for sticking to the Constitution by the Tea Party folks in this great cartoon:

So let’s keep our eyes and ears open as the new Congress starts us off on two years of political fun. It looks like a blockbuster couple of seasons for The Daily Show.

Scalia v. Women?

In an article in this month’s California Lawyer Magazine, Justice Antonin Scalia made a statement which sort of makes me jump out of my skin:

CLM: In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

Scalia: Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

Wow! This means that it is perfectly legal to discriminate against women… pay them less, keep them out of major universities, require them to accept conservative sex laws… and there is nothing in the Constitution (read: the 14th Amendment) to stop it.

This from the Huffington Post:

“In 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that they were protected, in an opinion by the conservative then Chief Justice Warren Burger,” Adam Cohen wrote in Time in September. “It is no small thing to talk about writing women out of equal protection — or Jews, or Latinos or other groups who would lose their protection by the same logic. It is nice to think that legislatures would protect these minorities from oppression by the majority, but we have a very different country when the Constitution guarantees that it is so.”

In 1996, Scalia cast the sole vote in favor of allowing the Virginia Military Institute to continue denying women admission.

Looking a little farther into this issue of Scalia versus Women is this piece from the Young Turks from last September:

This gives less respect for the Supreme Court’s Conservative majority than I had already.

Do we deserve an Article V Convention? Congress doesn’t think so…

Article V of the U.S. Constitution: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight [1808] shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

So what happens when the Congress ignores (and has since 1965) applications by ALL 50 STATES to call an Article V Convention? Take a look at requests for a Balanced Budget Amendment, which would keep the government from going further and further into debt on Military expenditures, let’s say. 171 Balanced Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 39 different states (rescissions excluded). Has an Article V Convention occurred?

No.

Friends Of An Article V Convention are pushing the cause at their web site. This is what you find at foavc.org:

What is Happening to Our Country?

Are you aware that We The People are being denied our constitutional right to an Article V Convention to propose amendments, despite a whopping 400+ (or more) Article V applications from the state legislatures of ALL 50 states? Only 34 (i.e. two thirds) are required.

FOAVC is a non-partisan association of American citizens from every state comprised of a broad range of occupations, Convention of 1787 (click  here to enlarge)ethnicities, religious affiliations and political persuasions.  Our common bond and mission is a deep commitment to preserving the values and principles embodied in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America – upon which this nation was founded. Article V of the United States Constitution provides that Congress, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments“.  The Founding Fathers of our nation recognized the importance of providing this means by which the citizens of our country could initiate amendments to change and/or clarify the Constitution; the fundamental document which they intended to be not only the blueprint for our federal system but also the supreme Law of the Land.

If you’d like to see the 400+ applications for the Constitutionally Required Article V Convention? Go HERE.

And once a Convention is called, there can be other amendments brought in (I think this is the real fear of our legislators… we might get lots of our government problems changed.)

So what do you think? As Joel S. Hirschhorn of FOAVC has stated:

American society is saddled with distractive consumerism, a culture of dishonesty, and rampant corporate corruption of government.  Despite what false patriots tell us, we now have a delusional democracy, not one that citizens can trust to serve their interests.  We clearly need a Second American Revolution.