Top Of My Head

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Tag: United States Constitution (page 1 of 2)

Justice Nominations and Senator Ron Johnson

United States Constitution Article II Section 2 Paragraph 2

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Just over a month later, as is his right and duty granted by the United States Constitution, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. And, our United State Senate voted on the nomination and confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Oh, wait, the United States Senate has NOT confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. It is now the end of August and still, no vote.

Haven’t the American people waited long enough for a replacement for Justice Scalia?

We should be outraged that our duly elected officials are NOT doing their jobs. Unfortunately, our Founding Fathers didn’t anticipate this and put something in the Constitution to say what to do when the Senate refuses to do its job and vote on the President’s nominee. There is a clause about what happens if the Senate is in recess, the President can make the appointment.  But, not one word about the Senate not cooperating.  Not. One. Word.

“It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.” – Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

I’ll bet our Founding Fathers never thought, never even considered that we might have elected officials so obstinate that they wouldn’t vote on the President’s Supreme Court nominee.  I don’t have a problem with them not confirming – it happens.  I don’t have a problem with them holding hearings, we’ve been doing that my whole life and probably longer.  I do take serious issue with our Senate not doing their jobs.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says he approves of this.  He tells his constituents that we don’t nominate and appoint Supreme Court Justices in election years.  Johnson said “It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.”1  (I should mention that in 1992, Joe Biden had the same idea. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.)

This isn’t Senator Johnson’s only refusal to nominate a judge to a Federal Court. The US 7th District Court is still down a couple of judges and we have Ron Johnson to thank for it. He blocked the nomination of Victoria Nourse, who was nominated in 2010, before Johnson was even Senator. He said it wasn’t fair because he hadn’t been consulted. HE. WASN’T. THE. SENATOR.

Ron Johnson is up for reelection. We cannot in good conscience send this man back to Washington for another six years. These are not the only reasons not to reelect Johnson, they’re just my reasons today. I’ll have more as the election draws near.

1.Wisconsin Watchdog article...2/6/2016

FCC and Net Neutrality

I sent the following to the FCC about Net Neutrality.  I encourage everyone to pass this around and encourage letters to the FCC to keep Net Neutrality going. Click here to contact the FCC.

Protecting the neutrality of the Internet is the biggest First Amendment issue facing us today. I am a blogger. Without Net Neutrality, Internet providers can make it difficult to find my site. They can charge me extra to guarantee a lane from a reader’s home into my site. I pay an Internet fee to my broadband provider. I pay another fee to have my site hosted. Without Net Neutrality, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon could all demand that I pay them a fee to allow traffic through. This will end the ability for new ideas to be fostered. A large company could essentially pay to kill a news story, simply by out paying for traffic.

Further, from a consumer standpoint, killing Net Neutrality means that small Mom and Pop shops will not be able to compete with larger, well funded stores. Traffic can be slowed, delayed or even re-routed entirely because a small consumer store will not be able to pay extra fees. This kills competition and innovation.

Finally, Internet access is very much like phone access. By disabling Net Neutrality, you are allowing companies to decide where and who their customers see and talk to. Imagine if this was the phone company. AT&T cannot prevent their customer from calling a Verizon customer. In reverse, Verizon cannot block calls to their customers from AT&T customers. Without Net Neutrality, that’s exactly what these companies can and will do. They already skirt the issue by making their customers pay more for faster service – imagine what they will do when they can become the traffic cops of data and information.

Sincerely,

 

Left, Wrong and the Internet: Early Morning Ramblings

I love the Internet.  I love technology.  That said, I think the Internet – for all the good – has a dark side.

We’re not anymore divided in this country than we were back when brother raised arms against brother, but thanks to the Internet; it sure feels that way.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, a lie can travel the email boxes of the world before the truth can boot the computer. (And, actually, to say that’s Mark Twain’s quote might not even be true – it might be Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.)

And, speaking of lies, it is amazing to me how someone will believe the lie of an email rather than believe the actually fact.  And, it seems as if people want to believe the lie.  Further, at least in my life and my experience, these people are on the right.

For example, I don’t care who sent you the email, George Soros doesn’t own nor is he affiliated with Snopes.com.  But, since this information from about Snopes is from Snopes, I’m guessing those on the right won’t believe it.

Oh and another thing:  The media, with some exceptions, is a tool of the left.  Fox News and the right may want you to believe that, but it simply isn’t true.  The media, again with some exceptions, is a business.  Businesses like to make money and whatever ups the ratings or sells newspapers is what’s going to be printed.  Don’t believe me, check out the ads for your local news.  Go ahead – it’s all:  Water – is it going to kill you or The danger lurking in your kitchen.  It’s designed to get you to watch.  Sometimes, you might get the full story, but most of the time you don’t.  And, radio news is just as bad (if not worse) than TV news.  I happen to have a long commute and no matter which station I listen to in the morning, that station will have the news on 3 or 4 times.  And, it’s always the same stories.

And, who owns the media?

Well, The Disney Company owns ABC, so they might lean a little to the left. Comcast owns NBC. Clear Channel owns 850 radio stations.

Our media, which translates into our news and information, is slowly being owned by less and less companies. In other words, more stations are being owned by the same company.

And, don’t even get me started on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was supposed to deregulate Cable and lower our rates (seen your rates drop? Anybody?) and it allowed companies to own more and more stations. There was a limit before.

Anyway, even for a rambling post, I’m getting off track.

I’d like to bring up Trayvon Martin – I know, I know, you’re all sick about the subject and your tired from all of the coverage, but I fought with my father about this yesterday and it’s on my mind.

  1. I’ve made this statement before and I’m making it again:  Once George Zimmerman left the safety of his vehicle (after being told by police not to do so), it wasn’t self-defense.  Once he approached Martin, he was taking the law into his own hands and whatever transpired after that made him a murderer.  And, that’s why stand your ground laws are dangerous, because the victim is no longer here.
  2. The picture of Trayvon Martin with tons of tattoos?  It’s not him.  And, the blatant lie of him flipping off the camera?  That’s a Trayvon Martin, but not THE Trayvon Martin.  Check out Snopes.
  3. I don’t care what Martin was doing that night.  I don’t care what he did in his young life before that night.  I don’t care if the kid was flunking out of high score and planning on scoring some drugs that night.  I don’t know if any of that is true and I don’t care.  He had a right to be on that sidewalk and he had the right to not have someone without any legal authority stop and question him.  It doesn’t matter that Zimmerman thought he had some right or was justified – he wasn’t.  Follow me in your vehicle at night and then approach me?  You might be the one down on the sidewalk looking up at the stars.  Pull a gun on me in some sort of “self-defense” and be prepared to die.
  4. Personally, I think Zimmerman deserves vigilante justice.  He stalked and hunted Trayvon Martin; he should only get the same.  And, it’s amazing how right wing people are offended by that.  They think that’s horrible.  How could I possibly feel that way? I feel that way because I believe in an eye for an eye.  Zimmerman totally disregarded Martin’s rights by approaching him.  Zimmerman knew he had a gun.  He knew the police were on their way.  He knew he was safe and then he got out of the car.  I think the real justice will be the fact that Zimmerman for the rest of his life will have to look over his shoulder to make sure he’s not being attacked.

As much as I would like to continue my ramblings (and, I never did reach my original point), I have to get going and head to work. I know, a liberal who works for a living! Imagine that! No government aid! It must be some leftist, Marxist, fascist, Communist conspiracy!

Indiana’s Unconstitutional Anti-Gay Law

According to Indiana law, which will take affect next July 1st, breaks the separation of church and state in a manner that is shocking:

IC 31-11-11-5
Solemnization of marriage in violation of this article
 Sec. 5. A person who:
(1) is authorized to solemnize marriages by IC 31-11-6; and
(2) solemnizes a marriage in violation of this article;
commits a Class C infraction.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.

In other words, if you are legally capable of performing marriages in the State of Indiana and you perform a gay marriage, you commit a Class C infraction (“A person who commits a Class C misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than sixty (60) days; in addition, he may be fined not more than five hundred dollars.*“)  Really? And, two sections down, there’s this:

IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.

If you perform a gay marriage, you commit a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine*. I’d like to mention that this is not only against the Constitution of the United States of America – it is, also, hypocritical. One of the right-wing arguments against gay marriage is that it is against their religion (which isn’t true).  But, if they believe in religious freedom, how can they possibly support a law that restricts religious freedom?

Oh, who am I kidding?  Anti-Gay people would give up their own freedom in order to harm gay people.  They’re truly crazy!

So Called Christian Right

So, you joined a group that is fighting for freedom, but all it’s really doing is fighting gay marriage.  And, you vote for a politician because he believes in unfunding Planned Parenthood, again while claiming to be something you’re not – Christian.  You claim that you’re following Jesus, but you vote for politicians who want to make it harder to become a US citizen.  You claim to follow the Constitution, but you want to impose YOUR religious beliefs on the rest of us.

Sad, really.  The whole Taxed Enough Already crowd is full of hypocrites.  The Constitution supports the separation of church and state.  And, no matter how many times some wrong wing person wants to proclaim that we are a Christian nation, we’re not.  This isn’t a “Christian” nation and we weren’t founded on the Christian religion.  We even put that fact in a treaty in 1797.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. ~ Article 11 Treaty of Tripoli

There are groups who dispute the Treaty of Tripoli.  They claim that George Washington never saw it, even though it was written during his administration, and when the Senate heard it Article 11 wasn’t there.  Sigh – sad, isn’t it?

Moving on to the whole point of this which is this: Stop being a hypocrite.  Stop supporting politicians who would rather give a tax break to a billionaire, than feed hungry school children.  If you want to show your love for Christ, then follow what He preached:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:31-40

Everytime a program that feeds the poor or clothes them – offers health care to them or just gives them a hand to help them help themselves is knocked down or cut by a politican, our country moves from Jesus’s right hand to His left hand. We move from being one of His sheep to being one of His goats. And, we all know how that story ended, right?

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”
He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. Matthew 25:41-46

I can hear the unrighteous (the ones who think they are righteous) speaking now, “But, I give to charity, so I’m good. We can’t have the government spending that money.” Oh, no? We can’t have the government taking our taxes, which is our money, and giving it to the poor? We can’t have that, but we can use religion to justify your hatred of gays? We can use religion to justify control of what a woman can or cannot do with her own body? We can use religion to go to war? We will vote for a politican who will give that money – our money – to an oil company in the form of a subsidy? But, we can’t take care of the least of us, which Jesus actually commanded?

If you don’t agree with gay marriage, fine – you have the right to your opinion.  If you don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose, fine – you have a right to that opinion, too.  But, don’t claim that your love of Jesus is why you don’t believe in the freedom of others, because you’re full of crap.  I know it and He knows it.

Gay Marriage: The Real Inequality

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional.  That means that gay people in states that recognize or have gay marriage will have their marriages recognized.  This is good – for them.

For those of us who are gay, in non-legally recognized marriages and living in the wrong states, nothing has changed.  We still do not have the right to inheritance, hospital visitations and joint income tax returns.  It, also, means we don’t have the responsibilities and protections that marriage offers.

There are legal ways around this.  My wife and I have registered as Domestic Partners, so we have some of these rights.  And, prior to Domestic Partnerships being legal in my state, we had signed power of attorneys for health and legal matters.

BUT…

What we can’t do is file a marriage, filing jointly income tax return.  And, this is what burns my butt.

By myself, I will pay $12,260 in Federal Income Taxes in 2013.  My wife (who earns less than I do) will pay $2,978.  Together, that’s $15,238.  (This is based on the IRS Withholding Calculator.)  Using the same calculator, I calculated what we would owe if we could file as a married filing jointly couple and the amount is $13,901.  That’s $1,337 less than what we’re separately paying now.

I don’t think I’m receiving $1,337 in extra Federal Benefits, do you?  What am I getting for this money?  Why is MY marriage not recognize by the Federal government because a bunch of bigots didn’t want gay marriage nine years ago – and they won. (By cheating, the question was worded so that yes meant against gay marriage and no meant for gay marriage.  I can’t tell you the number of my friends who were happy it passed, because they couldn’t figure out the difference.)

In any case, we have a long way to go.

Politics as Usual

I posted the picture from my blog about corporate taxes on Facebook.  I, then, shared a lot of feel good pictures.  Not so amazingly, the feel good pictures went on to be shared by my friends, while the picture of the widening gap between  Corporate taxes and Individual taxes went pretty much ignored.

I’ve created another picture and I hope that it gets passed around.

Moving on…

Included in the sad state of affairs, I posted on Twitter the following:

Republican: One who doesn’t want the government mandating that citizens buy health insurance, but sees no problem in deciding who can marry.

This posted to my Facebook account, as the two are linked. In response, I received this:

Democrat: one who does not care who or what you marry. As long as you are distracted enough for them to steal all your money and give it to someone who didn’t earn it.

Sad, isn’t it?

The idea that being a Democrat means you want to steal someone else’s money and give it away is the fallacy that the Republican Party promotes.  They’ve called earned programs, such as Social Security, entitlements.  They have distorted the Affordable Health Care Act so much that people don’t recognize the good things within it – such as mandating that health insurance companies spend at least 85% of premiums on health care and eliminating the pre-existing conditions.

 

Articles V & VI

Article. V.

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 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.

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article III

Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article II – Sections 2, 3 and 4

Section. 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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