Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category
Every 4 years, the same people argue that we have to unite around the GOP presidential standard bearer. They’re doing it again this year. In the past, I’ve been guilty of uniting around the GOP standard bearer. I won’t be guilty of that this time.
Mitch Berg wrote this thoughtful piece explaining why he will support Trump. I’ve known Mitch to be a thoughtful, principled conservative with a strong libertarian streak in him for over a decade. That’s why this discussion deserves to be done in a respectful, point-counterpoint fashion.
I can relate to Mitch when he started with saying “I’m sick of holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two evils.” We’ve all heard that too often lately. We’ve been there, done that, especially in 2008. Mitch made a legitimate point when he self-replied “And I’m sick of people wishing things would get better on their own. They don’t. They won’t. They never will. Sack up. This is life. The best thing that happens is the conservative ‘movement’ will grow up and realize that it can’t win by speaking to the echo chamber any more than the Paulbots could.”
Honestly, I’m not into talking only to the echochamber. While I write posts for LFR, LFR isn’t the only tool I use to influence people. I write articles for Examiner. I frequently write LTEs and op-eds for the St. Cloud Times, the Duluth News Tribune and the Mesabi Daily News. Further, I don’t just pontificate on the latest political happenings. I write about important reports that highlight the things that happen when progressive/socialist policies are implemented.
Most importantly, I won’t vote for Trump because he’s a pathological liar who’s questioned John McCain’s patriotism, who’s accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the team that assassinated JFK and who’s bragged that a convicted rapist (Mike Tyson) had endorsed him. I won’t vote for someone that’s quite possibly the most immoral presidential candidate in my lifetime. And remember, I followed Nixon’s fall in Watergate and I watched Bill Clinton try explaining away a stained blue dress.
The difference between a leader and a bully is about the same as the difference between a bank robber and a police officer. They both carry guns but that’s where the similarities end. Trump’s bullying of the press is frightening for any First Amendment- and Constitution-loving person. Overlooking a person’s squishiness is one thing. Ignoring a tyrant’s actions are unforgivable. It’s the line I won’t cross. Period.
I’m not interested in being a loyal Republican if all I get from it is aggravation. If the GOP machine isn’t interested in my ideas, then it doesn’t get my vote or activism, either. As for the bad things that will happen if Hillary’s elected, I’ll simply say that that’s what needs to happen. An addict doesn’t turn their life around if they don’t hit rock bottom. A call to unity is a call to not let the GOP hit rock bottom.
Finally, Trump has bought into more conspiracy theories than Ron Paul. Remember that Dr. Paul once said during a debate that he didn’t want a wall built on the Tex-Mex border because he was afraid it would be used to keep people in the United States. Based on the things that Trump has said about Sen. Cruz’s father, Dr. Paul looks virtually sane compared with Trump.
What won’t change is that I’ll work hard to keep Republicans in control of the Minnesota House, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. I’ll work tirelessly to flip the Minnesota Senate, too.
As for my presidential vote, I’m wholeheartedly opposed to Hillary and Trump. It’s that simple. They can both go to hell.
Pat Buchanan has been critical of the GOP for 25 years. After reading Buchanan’s latest article, it’s clear he won’t stop criticizing the GOP anytime soon.
Buchanan has fancied himself as a populist conservative. If that description sounds like it doesn’t fit, it’s because those words don’t fit together. Conservatism at its finest is governed by foundational principles. Populism is governed by mob rule. That’s Patrick J. Buchanan, though. Trying to make sense of the things he says is like trying to tracking the flight of a butterfly with a spotting scope. Good luck with that.
Buchanan’s latest eruption was triggered by people opposing Donald Trump’s becoming the GOP presidential nominee. Why that’s controversial is difficult to figure out but that’s Buchanan’s logic. (Personally, I always thought that the GOP presidential nominee shouldn’t be a Democrat but I’m quirky that way. That’s why I also believe that all primaries and caucuses should be closed.)
But it raises anew the question: Can the establishment stop Trump? Answer: It is possible, and we shall know by midnight, March 15. If Trump loses Florida and Ohio, winner-take-all primaries, he would likely fall short of the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination on the first ballot.
How could the anti-Trump forces defeat him in Ohio, Florida and Illinois? With the same tactics used to shrink Trump’s victory margins in Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky to well below what polls had predicted. In every primary upcoming, Trump is under a ceaseless barrage of attack ads on radio, TV, cable and social media, paid for by super PACs with hoards of cash funneled in by oligarchs.
Buchanan omits the fact that the ads use Trump’s words against him. Buchanan omits the fact that these super PAC’s ads tell the story of how Trump funded the campaigns of Democrats, who then used those majorities to create Obamacare.
Let’s re-word this paragraph to fit reality:
But Trump, who is self-funding his campaign, has spent next to nothing on ads answering these attacks, or promoting himself or his issues. He has relied almost exclusively on free media.
It should read like this:
But Trump, who frequently claims that he’s self-funding his campaign even though his FEC report says otherwise, hasn’t needed to spend money to promote himself or his issues because he’s received tens of millions of dollars worth of free media.
Then there’s this:
Yet no amount of free media can match the shellfire falling on him every hour of every day in every primary state.
Mr. Buchanan, campaigns aren’t cheap. If Trump chooses to not spend money countering the ads, then that’s a campaign decision. It isn’t a particularly wise campaign decision but it’s a campaign decision. As for promoting Trump’s policies, he doesn’t have any. He’s used tons of slogans to outline his agenda but advertising slogans aren’t the same as detailed policies.
Trump hasn’t built a campaign organization. He hasn’t bought paid advertising. He’s run while trying to hide the fact that he’s a liberal. That’s quite a trick.
The DFL used to represent ‘the little guy’. Now it’s utterly beholden to Big Labor. Because the DFL is that beholden to the unions, they passed a bill in 2013 that a majority of in-home child care providers opposed. That’s why the DFL made sure to rig the election. That’s why in-home child care providers are suing Gov. Dayton, “Josh Tilsen, commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS), and Emily Johnson Piper, commissioner of the Department of Human Services.”
First, “According to the suit: Only child care providers who were actively registered with the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Programs in the past 12 months and who received subsidies from the program in December 2015 can vote to determine whether AFSCME should represent child care providers. That means only 2,348 providers can vote in an election that was announced by the BMS in January.”
BMS should be sued for rigging an election. AFSCME’s unionization push doesn’t just affect in-home child care providers that care for children whose parents receive assistance. AFSCME wants to be the exclusive negotiator with government on a wide range of issues. Despite that fact, BMS is insisting that the unionization vote be limited to a tiny portion of the child care providers. NOTE: There are over 11,000 in-home child care providers.
AFSCME knows that they’ll get defeated if all 11,000 providers get to vote. In fact, AFSCME knows they’ll get trounced if all child care providers vote.
The legislation and unionization efforts will interfere with other child care providers’ abilities to negotiate contracts directly with their clients, the suit said.
Since these are independent small businesses, they should have the right to pick the people they want representing them before oppressive governments. They should be able to change their mind on that decision a case-by-case basis.
Isn’t it absurd that government is telling these entrepreneurs who can represent them in negotiating with that oppressive government? Distilled to its finest form, that’s what this rigged election is about.
During his stump speeches and during debates, Donald Trump frequently criticizes politicians who are “all talk and no action.” The media, especially shills like Joe Scarborough, Sean Hannity, Andrea Tantaros and Eric Bolling, never question Trump on that statement. If there’s anyone who is all talk and no action, it’s Mr. Trump. What’s worse is that he threatens lawsuits against newspapers, reporters and presidential candidates in his attempt to intimidate them into silence.
Wednesday, Mr. Trump made the mistake of threatening to sue the Cruz campaign. I wrote this post to highlight the incompetence of Mr. Trump’s attorney and Sen. Cruz’s willingness to stand up to Mr. Trump. Jeffrey Goldman, Trump’s attorney, sent a cease and desist letter to Sen. Cruz’s campaign. Not only didn’t Sen. Cruz refuse to cease and desist, Sen. Cruz held a press conference to literally tell Mr. Trump to bring it on, calling Trump’s lawsuit frivolous. In addition to that, Sen. Cruz’s attorneys replied to Mr. Trump, saying ”
As recently as Saturday, February 13, 2016 – four days ago at the Republican Debate sponsored by CBS – Mr. Trump said Planned Parenthood “does do wonderful things.” Planned Parenthood is the leading abortion provider in the country. Being pro-life and supporting Planned Parenthood are incompatible. Moreover, Mr. Trump has recently donated political contributions to many pro-choice candidates and officeholders, including Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Anthony Weiner, and Rahm Emanuel. Do you, on behalf of your client, deny that these contributions were used to help elect pro-choice candidates to office? Indeed, before the 2008 election cycle, Mr. Trump donated $303,600 to Democrats, many of whom are pro-abortion. Mr. Trump also donated to the New York State Democratic Party, whose platform is pro-choice, and he has donated to pro-choice candidates as recently as 2014. Suffice it to say, there is ample evidence casting grave doubt about the truthfulness of Mr. Trump’s campaign claims that he is truly pro-life.”
Since then, Sen. Cruz has taunted Mr. Trump, daring Mr. Trump to file his lawsuit. Mr. Trump is caught between a difficult position. If he files the lawsuit, Sen. Cruz has threatened to personally depose Mr. Trump. That opens all kinds of legal difficulties for Mr. Trump. It’s one thing for Trump to lie about being pro-life on the campaign trail. It’s another to say that during a deposition:
Trump isn’t pro-life in any meaningful way. He’s recently contributed tens of thousands of dollars to staunchly pro-abortion candidates like Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Anthony Weiner and Rahm Emanuel. I’ve yet to find a pro-life activist who wouldn’t instantly reject contributing to any of those politicians. It’s impossible to find a pro-life activist who would contribute to all of these pro-abortion dirt bags.
Next, Trump’s defense of Planned Parenthood is that Katrina Pierson, his dishonest spokesperson, said that “Mr. Trump has said that Planned Parenthood does do cervical cancer screenings, and that is a good thing when you are a poor, single mom in a neighborhood that doesn’t have access to these other clinics.” That doesn’t even rise to the level of flimsy. There were 669 Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation in 2013. That number was shrinking. The number of cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood was dropping, too.
By comparison, there were 9,059 Federally Qualified Health Centers, aka FQHCs, in the United States. The number of FQHCs is increasing. I’d love hearing Ms. Pierson prove that there’s a Planned Parenthood clinic that provides cancer screenings in a city where there isn’t an FQHC that can do those same cancer screenings.
Simply put, Mr. Trump has shown tendencies that make First Amendment activists worry. He’s shown a willingness to use intimidation tactics to silence his critics. Now that someone has called his bluff, it’ll be interesting to see if Trump will do something or just talk big.
Here’s my prediction: if Mr. Trump doesn’t sue Sen. Cruz, we’ll know that he’s all talk and no action. We’ll have proof that he’s a whiny punk who doesn’t like being held accountable. Mr. Trump is right. DC has too many politicians who are all talk and no action.
We don’t need to nominate another all talk and no action politician to be the GOP presidential candidate.
After Saturday night’s GOP debate, everyone is harping on the need to elect experienced leaders who have a steady hand in times of crisis. That’s essentially the pitch being made by the Establishment candidates. Earlier tonight, I wrote this article to highlight how insignificant experience is if you don’t share the right principles. Why would a constitutional conservative think about voting for Jeb Bush hours after he told CNN’s Dana Bash that he’d like to undo the Citizens United v. the FEC ruling?
The simple answer is they wouldn’t. That’s enough to disqualify Jeb from becoming the GOP nominee. That isn’t the only boneheaded thing he’s done lately, though. Rather than running the joyous campaign he promised when he got in, instead, he attacked almost everyone in the race. The only candidate he didn’t disparage is Gov. Christie.
Gov. Bush asked “We have the front-running candidate, it’s all about him,” Mr. Bush said. “And the two other gifted candidates, they’ve never had a chance to lead. Maybe they can do it, but why would we risk it?” The answer is simple. I don’t put much value on experienced people who think the Bill of Rights is antiquated. Freedom of speech isn’t granted by the government, Gov. Bush. It’s a right given to us by “Nature’s God.” In short, get your grubby progressive mitts off my right to criticize politicians.
Apparently, Gov. Bush didn’t learn that constitutional republics are messy things. They’re that way intentionally. The Founding Fathers didn’t want ‘efficient government’. Dictatorships are efficient but they don’t exactly listen to the people. Mob rule democracies aren’t significantly better. Mobs have a habit of not listening to thoughtful people in the minority. For examples of this, check out Pelosi’s iron-fisted rule of the House in 2009-2010 when shoving Obamacare down our throats.
One of the reasons why Constitution-loving conservatives have rejected the Establishment candidates is because the Establishment candidates don’t properly respect the Constitution. Jeb Bush just reminded us that he doesn’t respect the Constitution.
Let’s hope our friends in South Carolina give him the beating he deserves for abandoning the Constitution.
Earlier this morning, I wrote this article with the intent of proving Donald Trump is a First Amendment-hating tyrant who hasn’t hesitated in intimidating reporters into not writing unflattering articles about him. It’s unforgivable when a politician attempts to chill free speech and limit the rights citizens have to gather information about their government.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It isn’t right that a presidential candidate has banned reporters from public events because he didn’t like their coverage of him. That’s what fascists and third world dictators do. That’s unacceptable in the United States.
Daniel Greenfield’s article provides a worthwhile teaching moment on what’s constitutional and what isn’t. Greenfield’s article starts with him saying “Trump is a monster, a madman and a vile racist. He’s just like Hitler. Or Jimmy Carter. During the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter issued a number of orders to put pressure on Iran. Among these, Iranians were banned from entering the United States unless they oppose the Shiite Islamist regime or had a medical emergency.”
Later in the article, Greenfield wrote “Now unlike Muslims, Iranians were not necessarily supportive of Islamic terrorism. Many were and are opponents of it. Khomeini didn’t represent Iran as a country, but his Islamist allies. So Trump’s proposal is far more legitimate than Carter’s action.” That’s a non sequitur defense of Trump’s bombastic statement. It’s illegal to exclude people based on their religious beliefs.
Kimberly Guilfoyle explained, saying that “[we] are signatories to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are international laws and treaties that we are bound by. You can not ban people based on their religious beliefs.”
Treaties that the president signs and that Congress approves in its advise and consent responsibilities are then treated as equal in legal strength as a US statute passed by Congress and signed by the president. Further, treaties that’ve been signed by the president, then ratified by Congress, can’t be repealed by executive order. Just like repealing statutes, Congress has to pass a bill calling for repeal of the law.
The repeal isn’t complete until the president signs the bill calling for withdrawing from the treaty.
Greenfield finishes by saying “Maybe the professional conservatives running around shrieking their heads off can calm down now long enough to have a rational conversation on the subject.” I’d prefer Mr. Greenfield taking a closer look at the laws that apply to banning people based on their religious beliefs. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says signatories can’t deny people rights based on their religious beliefs. It doesn’t say that the US can’t ban people from specific nations, presumably because of the United States’ right to defend itself.
Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator from Connecticut and, as near as I can tell, a staunch advocate for censorship and a hater of religion. He can afford to be. He’s from Connecticut, which isn’t known for its deep religious roots.
Peggy Noonan is a former speechwriter for the greatest president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. She’s a gifted wordsmith and a lady of stature and dignity. Even when I disagree with her, which is occasionally, I still have immense respect for her. That’s because, at heart, she’s constantly cheering to see America at its best. She isn’t an ideologue. Instead, she’s a patriot. That’s why I couldn’t resist reading Ms. Noonan’s column about the fragile state of the First Amendment.
She noted that Sen. Murphy injected invective into the conversation about San Bernardino while it was happening, saying “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Then Ms. Noonan made the observation that there’s “a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Twenty years ago, that statement would’ve been laughed at. Today, thoughtful people furrow their brow and worry that Ms. Noonan is right. Then Ms. Noonan offered this insight into winning debates:
If you really are for some new gun-control measure, if you are serious about it, you just might wait a while, until the blood has cooled, for instance, and then try to win people over to see it your way. You might offer information, argument, points of persuasion. Successful politics involves pulling people together. You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides.
I won’t assume that Sen. Murphy is interested in winning a debate. (Ms. Noonan didn’t either.) It’s quite possible that Sen. Murphy only wants to speak up and be heard.
Now that the blood has started cooling, it’d be easy to criticize Sen. Murphy. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just add some information and, hopefully, a little insight into this nightmare. First, the information flooding in is that this wasn’t a criminal action as much as it was a terrorist attack. Though President Obama and the FBI have tap-danced around that possibility, the truth is that that proverbial train left the station when the FBI found literally thousands of rounds of ammunition, a bomb-making factory in the Farooks’ apartment and an assortment of pipe bombs and IED in the Farooks’ SUV.
The insight I have for Sen. Murphy is to start talking about how President Obama, the FBI and our other intelligence agencies can connect the terrorist network dots faster. They clearly were caught flat-footed on San Bernardino. Couple that with their unwillingness to call it what it obviously is and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
This post is meant as a bit of a thank you to Ms. Noonan for writing something insightful on the subject of winning debate. Here’s hoping for more sanity to break out shortly.
Prof. Mark Jaede has a lengthy history of being a DFL activist/operative. I first came face-to-face with it during the state government shutdown in 2011 but I’d heard of Jaede’s activism before that. This year, Prof. Jaede has taken his activism to a new level when Prof. Jaede complained publicly about this LTE. Specifically, Prof. Jaede complained that the St. Cloud Times editorial started by asking “Why are Muslim leaders silent?” in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Later in the editorial, the writer got more specific, saying that there “has been no such response from Muslim leaders around the world to express their condemnation of terrorism and to let the global community know the difference between the religion of Islam and extremism.”
Yesterday, Prof. Jaede posted something to SCSU’s discuss listserv. In his post to the discuss listserv, Prof. Jaede admitted that he’d done “something I have never done before. I wrote to a newspaper asking them to take down a letter to the editor.” Here’s Prof. Jaede’s letter to the St. Cloud Times:
I am writing in regard to the above-referenced letter that appeared today in the online edition of the Times.
The letter is not merely an opinion piece. It makes a claim of fact that is patently false. Muslims all over the world have denounced the terrorism of ISIS. Muslim leaders here in St. Cloud have denounced it, and the Times has printed their statements. Why would you print this letter when you know it to be both false and likely to further anti-Muslim bigotry in our area? And why have the comments been turned off? Responsible readers can’t even point out the falsehoods.
Much as I have disagreed with many opinion pieces in the Times, I have never before been moved to write to object to the publication of a piece. This letter crosses the line. It goes beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.
Please take it down, or at least publish a disclaimer pointing out the falsehood of its central claim.
It’s one thing to ask a newspaper to “at least publish a disclaimer” highlighting the inaccuracies of the LTE. It’s another to ask a newspaper to unpublish an article that’s been posted on their website. That’s called censorship, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. Prof. Jaede said that “this letter crosses the line” by going “beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.” The remedy for crossing that line isn’t to censor the writer. It’s to impeach them with your own LTE.
Methinks it’s time for Prof. Jaede to refresh his understanding of the First Amendment.
It isn’t difficult to find a liberal who’s willing to betray his principles, at least when it comes to campaign finance. Russ Feingold is that type of progressive. He’s definitely a do-as-I-say-no-as-I-do progressive. This time, the lesser known half of McCain-Feingold, the bill written by politicians to protect incumbents under the guise of preventing corruption, held a fundraiser in Washington, DC, the US capitol of corruption according to progressives like Feingold.
According to the article, the “fundraiser took place Tuesday night at 201 Bar’s Executive Lounge located just a short walking distance from the Capitol. The dimly lit basement-level bar was reserved by the Russ for Wisconsin campaign.” The reason that’s a big deal is because Feingold said it’s a big deal. According to Feingold, “During a panel at the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2012, the former 18-year senator singled out the exact location of Tuesday’s fundraiser as a venue where lobbyists buy influence and lawmakers circumvent rules when asked by an audience member to comment on the amount of money lobbyists donate to individuals and political campaigns.”
Joining with John McCain, they crusaded for rooting out the corruption in DC by limiting political speech. In McCain’s and Feingold’s definition, corruption was found anywhere in Washington, DC where people contributed money to politicians.
This is obviously part of the issue. It’s not that lobbyist themselves give huge campaign contributions it’s that they become conduits for collecting large contributions,” Feingold said. “So in Washington typically a member of the House or Senate will be having, quote, a ‘fundraiser’, and the lobbyist will bring in a few people and a bunch of checks, and this, you know, this is the same lobbyist who is arranging to have meetings to talk to this guy about policy in his office the next day—hopefully they’re not doing the same thing in the office because that’s illegal—but I mean, it’s across the street. You know, at the 201 Club or the Monocle.
Feingold is a fossil. Also, he’s bought into the DC theory that the people can’t be trusted to make decisions. He’s repeatedly proven that he doesn’t like the First Amendment.