Tag Archives: US constitution

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

 

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke (Disputed)

There has been much heated debate about the subject of Stand Your Ground Legislation. Proponents argue that when faced with a dangerous situation, a person’s fight-or-flight response should default to flight by law.
keep-calm-and-stand-your-ground-5[1]

Imagine a scenario where a middle-aged person of average health like myself gets confronted by a would be attacker who is much younger, fitter, stronger, and faster. I’m expected to make an attempt to flee in states where Duty-To-Retreat is the legislation du-jour instead of Stand-Your-Ground.

What happens in this scenario? Ultimately I run—hopefully to some place safe. But this creates a very unsafe situation for me instead of my attacker, because now I’m on defense and I have to hope I can run fast enough to get away. I also have to hope my attacker doesn’t have a gun, because I wouldn’t know once I started running; I have my back to them—a position that makes me as vulnerable as a person can be. Plus, like most people, I can’t outrun a bullet, if they’re armed.

In this situation, the victim is ultimately expected to put themselves in a more dangerous position because of the actions of a would-be attacker, but also they’re often expected to abandon their property as well. But why does the attacker get the benefit of having the upper hand or having their rights protected while mine are diminished?

Victim Drawing On An Attacker
Victim Drawing On An Attacker

With Stand-Your-Ground, I simply draw my gun, keep my eyes on my would-be attacker, and ultimately either they flee, or they get shot due to a scenario they created. I could flee if I thought it was the best way to protect myself, but I shouldn’t have the threat of 20-to-life hanging over me if I opt not to.

The problem has often been that politicians hear news stories about young attackers getting shot and killed and court voters as the compassionate one who feels it’s a tragedy a child is dead. While I agree it is sad on the face of it, I feel this is disgusting to act as if a young felon’s life is somehow more important than the life of the innocent victims they decided to attack.

Let’s dispel some scientific nonsense first. Nothing magical happens at 18 years of age. There’s no radical change that takes place in the human body. Making 18 the age of adulthood was something Americans decided via legislators, and it has little do with science. It is generally just that we know humans stop growing around that age, not their mental capacity to understand the weight of their actions; that varies from person to person.

To act as if a 16-year-old for instance, who is putting someone’s life or property at risk with malicious intent is somehow  innocent or unaware of what they are doing, or doesn’t understand the heinousness of the act, requires a monumental amount of ignorance.

To act as if the victim should understand the person is under 18 is equally nonsensical. Attackers usually don’t show you an I.D. first.

I don’t want anyone to die needlessly, but whatever bad outcome happens to a violent felon caught in the act, up to and including death, is justice in my eyes. Whether they are 14, 18, or 40 is irrelevant. They voluntarily chose to create this situation, and they’ll potentially pay the price for it. If so, they will serve as a warning to others not to choose a psychopath’s lifestyle.

However, an often not discussed issue I want to delve into is the psyche of the victim. While I don’t profess to live in the middle of gangland, I have had the unfortunate honor of being attacked, robbed, and had a gun put in my face at different times in my life.

While it’s easy for politicians to pass laws that a rational person would adhere to, until you’ve been victimized, it’s impossible to understand the natural and sometimes uncontrollable rage that will fill every victim who is put into that situation.

In each instance, if I had been carrying a firearm, I would have emptied it into my attacker and then probably pulled the trigger at least a dozen more times to make sure there weren’t any bullets left that my gun just somehow missed.

Now maybe you’re thinking I’m a violent guy, but I’ve genuinely never instigated a physical altercation, so the evidence indicates otherwise. These three instances are the only ones I’ve been involved in since 5th grade, and all of them were unprovoked on my part.

It is a fool’s mission to expect a reasonable person to behave reasonably when they are thrust into a situation that puts them in mortal danger. It’s hard to predict what a situation like that will do to someone, but assuming they’re not an emotionless sociopath or a trained soldier mentally equipped for such an act, it will affect them in a way they’ve never been affected before, and a controlled outcome should not be expected.

Putting innocent victims in jail because they overreacted to a violent attack is one of America’s biggest atrocities it commits on its own denizen.US Constitution

Not only do I believe that the Constitution should be amended to include Stand-Your-Ground, I also believe that the law should clearly state two things:

  1. Attackers have no rights during the commission of, or while fleeing from a felony. Nor shall they or their family have any legal right to civil damages incurred by their counter-attacker later.
  2. If the victim, or an innocent bystander harms the attacker in any way during the commission or fleeing of a felony, the person acting against the attacker should be immunized from all criminal prosecution.

(In both instances, I emphasize during the act—I do not condone hunting them down later in an act of vigilantism)

I understand that people may think my idea is radical and heartless, but you shall not convince me I’m on the moral low ground.

While I do value life, I only value the lives of people who respect the rights of others. If you opt to attack, rape, murder, or rob another person, I feel your early and untimely death will be to the benefit of humanity.

It not only protects society from your future bad acts, but if sociopathy is genetic, which some in the psychiatric profession suspect it is, the genes of a sociopath are removed from the gene pool as well. From a purely logical standpoint, my argument makes the most sense to advance society as a whole.

So what about the Edmund Burke quote? My plan would hopefully encourage the good men from the anecdote to do something instead of nothing. If a victim is killed because a good person who could have helped opted to do nothing out of a fear of prosecution for intervening, then evil will have triumphed, and the right to life isn’t nearly as Constitutionally protected as it should be.

 

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Drug Legalization is the Yin, don’t forget the Yang

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Recently on Stossel, Ann Coulter made an argument that was factually accurate, yet fundamentally wrong if she wishes to fight for liberty, where she is in essence proposing to treat the symptom, not the cause.

She argued that drugs should be illegal because of our welfare state. Meaning that because a drug user destroys themself, they usually end up in a hospital with conditions arising from drug use. Rarely can they afford to pay for treatment since many are unemployed and/or broke from their habit; so as a result, their expenses are often at the expense of others. Therefore; by her logic, these drug users are violating our right to property (money) by burdening us with the costs born from their habit.

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

The reason this argument upsets me is that she’s going after the users who are only hurting themselves instead of going after the government for compelling hospitals to help them.

In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) as part of COBRA. It prohibits a hospital from turning away a patient in need of emergency care, regardless of their ability to pay.

But hospitals, like any other business, should have the right to choose whether to help someone based on their own criteria. Make it easier for a hospital to garnish accounts, property, and wages if the patient agrees to it, or allow them to let nature take its course if the patients refuse.

If a hospital wants to have a free clinic supported by charitable donations, they should be lauded for doing so. Many already do this. But if you opt to kill yourself, or engage in behavior that may get you killed, that’s your right. It’s none of the government’s business, and certainly not the responsibility of hospitals and taxpayers to take that right from you.

When I make this argument, people accuse me of sociopath wanting others to die. But like any other strawman argument and ad hominem attack, that’s not what I said—it’s a diversionary argument. I don’t want people to die, and would vehemently fight to save a family member from their attempts at hari-kari, but I’m not OK with being pilfered of my earnings to keep the entirety of the American populace alive, especially those in danger due to their own lack of personal responsibility or desire to die.

As I said in my previous article,  illogical arguments that destroy your rights, in a free country, the starting point must be that everything is legal. From there, one must make a case as to why something should be made illegal by showing that it infringes on the rights of another. So making laws that protect someone from their own self-destructive behavior is fundamentally wrong.

As long as the government compels hospitals to provide care to people, regardless of whether or not they can pay, then arguing that such activity should remain illegal under that paradigm is fair. The problem with this tactic is that I can make the same argument for taking away alcohol, cigarettes, Cheetos, red meat, or Bloomy’s big soda ban.

So while Ann’s argument makes sense, it only makes sense if we just roll over and take the assault on liberty that is EMTALA. I’ve never gotten the impression Ann Coulter is afraid to say what she thinks, so ignoring this lends me to believe that she’s either given up fighting for liberty in favor of taking the path of least resistance, she’s ignorant, or there’s something else at play; which I’ll get to in a moment.

Another common argument is that it is illegal because it cannot be easily taxed. If I apply some basic skepticism, I have to look at this is a false argument too. First, while I think politicians are not always honest, I don’t believe they’re evil. I can’t rationally imagine they sit in a room and say, “We can’t let people do something they love unless we figure out a way to tax it.” I think one has to be mighty jaded and cynical to believe that’s happening. I can’t prove it doesn’t, but I’m not buying it until someone shows me evidence it does. Politicians are people, just like you and I; let’s not make them out to be satan’s minions.

Just a dude growin' some bud
Just a dude growin’ some bud

Although marijuana is significantly easier to grow than tobacco in the U.S., the fact remains it can be done, and prior to corporations with assembly lines, it was done. Yet, companies assemble cigarettes and people buy them because it’s easier than doing it themselves. The government overtaxes them like it’s part of their religion, which I believe it actually may be, but people don’t seem to care enough to resort to making their own. I have a friend who buys raw tobacco and makes them because he’s poor and it’s cheap, so it is done on occasion, but most simply can’t be bothered.

So where do I believe the problem truly resides? Ignorance and religious conditioning. The ignorance part is seen every time someone makes the improper statistical argument that marijuana is a gateway drug (Also explained in illogical arguments that destroy your rights). People believe marijuana is capable of doing a myriad of things that science has proven it can’t or generally won’t do.

As for the religious component; we’ve been conditioned to believe using mind-altering substances is a morally wrong thing to do, regardless of the fact it isn’t harming anyone else. Even alcohol, which is legal now by virtue of the disaster of prohibition, is still restricted on Sundays and after certain hours of the evening in most states; this is solely because of religious values. Don’t believe me? Remind me again, what is special about Sunday?

While I don’t necessarily believe politicians are consciously outlawing such things based on religious views, I believe that religious conditioning is causing them to subconsciously make decisions they feel are morally just, based on what they’ve been taught, not what science might have proven to the contrary. Much like a bad detective may look for evidence that a husband is his wife’s murderer based on statistics and pre-conceived notions instead of following the evidence without bias.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

While we have a clear first amendment that prohibits laws establishing or prohibiting religion, we seem to be far too tolerant with laws that are based on religious principles instead of the protection of one’s rights.

Since this is a fine line, lawmakers make diversionary arguments to deflect away from the fact their legislation violates the spirit of the 1st amendment such as one like Ann Coulter’s argument. It’s easier to attack the drug user’s rights than to fight Washington. Since they’ve been conditioned by their religion to believe that these people are behaving immorally, taking that right away from them is inherently good in their eyes.

Because Americans are a caring and moral people, we’re quick to pass laws to prevent them from killing themselves or being declined a life-saving service they cannot pay for—liberty for the doctor or taxpayer be damned. But when us libertarians argue to let people use, we also have to be OK with letting those people die. If you cannot reconcile that, then you must side with Ann Coulter on this issue.

Note about the author: I have never used, nor have much interest in using marijuana. I care about liberty, not getting high.

#StandWithRand – People all over, were missing the point

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As you may have noticed, Rand Paul has attracted a lot of attention recently; some inexplicably negative. There were attacks on the Senate floor, arrows slung on Twitter, poorly written articles full of hyperbole by people who missed the point, etc. I find it increasingly frustrating that people who should know better; don’t. I’m not about to speak on behalf of Rand Paul, nor am I authorized too, but I won’t sit idly by and watch people either lie about or distort the obvious purpose of his filibuster either.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

I’m usually a fan of Breitbart news, and considered Andrew Breitbart an honorable conservative hero—he is sorely missed. But Aaron Goldenberg at Breitbert.com wrote this article, which is a good illustration of the ignorance on Rand Paul’s filibuster. I don’t know anything about Aaron, and don’t mean to attack him personally, but based on his article, the point of Paul’s actions was completely lost on him, as well as senators McCain and Graham, and a portion of the populace as well. While Aaron’s article is factual in that if the president wanted to kill you, he has many means at his disposal besides drones; that’s not, nor ever was the issue.

Addressing the hyperbole; he talks about the fact that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh haven’t been bombed as proof that Obama has no intention of using drone strikes on American soil. While the president certainly doesn’t like those people, they are not considered terrorists, even by White House standards. We don’t have satellites that can read a newspaper from space either. Giving Aaron the benefit of the doubt, I believe he was being facetious and comedic, but such hyperbole distracts from the truth, and isn’t proper journalism. I’m an amateur blogger who just spouts off, but Breitbart.com; while openly conservative, is a proper investigative news site—they should maintain higher journalistic standards than such ridiculous hyperbole.

Here some important facts:

  • Anwar al-Aulaqi was the first American to be targeted for assassination without due process (that we know of) and was obliterated by a US air strike on Sept 30, 2011. While I agree he was a bad man with intentions of doing bad things to America, and I am glad he’s dead; he was not killed on a battlefield, nor executed as a result of a judicial sentence. We determined, without due process, that he should be killed, and carried out that objective—creating a precedent doing so. Rand Paul was absolutely right to ask what would have stopped us from potentially doing the same to Jane Fonda during Vietnam.
  • Anwar’s son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was an American killed in October 14th 2011 by a US drone strike as well without due process, although he was officially not identified as the target for that attack.
  • These are real American’s who were really killed by real drone strikes which set a real precedent. Nothing theoretical there.
  • Based on this information, Rand Paul wrote letters to the nominee for the CIA John Brennan, starting in January which can be seen here, here, and here, asking if they believed they could legally target American’s on American soil. They already set one precedent, it was fair to assume that could potentially be the next logical step.
  • The White House was largely quiet at first, but as CNN reported, “In a letter to Paul dated on Monday, Holder said it was possible, ‘I suppose,’ to imagine an ‘extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate’ under U.S. law for the president to authorize the military to ‘use lethal force’ within the United States.”

Detractors of Rand Paul’s filibuster have insinuated that Rand Paul is either accusing Obama of planning on such a hit, or at least wanting to do it in the future. However, that is not the case. Prior to Obama, the thought of killing an American without due process seemed ludicrous, yet it happened to the Al-Aulaqis.

Filibuster From Mr Smith Goes To Washington
Filibuster From Mr Smith Goes To Washington

Rand’s question was a general one, but let’s use an example. If Al-Aulaqi lived in a remote cabin somewhere in the Midwest, and the CIA and/or FBI were afraid that the land might be full of booby traps making it dangerous to execute an arrest, would the administration believe they have the right to use a drone strike to take him out without him having being tried (even in absentia), convicted, and sentenced first?

Again, I do not want to speak on behalf of Senator Paul, but whether the plane was piloted or not isn’t the issue. It just so happens that drones have recently begun operating within our borders, and it begged the question why. But, the issue was about killing Americans without due process, drone strikes merely served as the example.

Let me illustrate this with a hypothetical question. Imagine we were at a dinner party and I asked, “Can you envision a time when it would be OK to have sex with a ten-year-old?” Unless you’re someone required to notify people you are now living in their area, you would immediately and emphatically say “no.” It’s a blatantly offensive proposition that most humans would not have to consider before answering.

To people like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, democrats like Ron Wyden, liberal commentator Bob Beckel, and many others (me included) it wasn’t a partisan issue, and it should have garnered an immediate and emphatic “No” as well—which it didn’t. Obama, Holder, and Brennan showed clear signs that they felt such an option should be on the table in extreme circumstances.

At first, if I was being kind to the Obama administration, they are lawyers. Lawyers love to leave themselves “outs” and rarely like stating something for the record that might be used against them later. But, holder wrote the first response above indicating that while it was unlikely, he would not rule it out. Would that be your response to molesting a child? Would you say, “Well in extreme circumstances, maybe…”? Those of us who feel killing without due process as being similarly offensive to molesting a child for example, were rightfully concerned.

Aaron also went on to say the filibustering the nomination of John Brennan was irrelevant, but I called Rand Paul’s office; they sent three letters to the man asking him to respond, along with asking the president and Holder. So Rand killed two birds with one stone. He held up the nomination of a man who would be responsible for carrying out such a strike, while at the same time forcing Obama to respond, lest no work go through the senate for the indefinite future.

Predator Drone
Predator Drone

If you don’t agree that killing Americans without due process is that big of a deal as long as the president says they’re a “Bad guy,” then so be it; that’s your prerogative.

But to John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and anyone else who thought Rand Paul was wasting time, your position disgusts me. Rand Paul got two lawyers in high office to agree on their limit of power over We The People definitively and on the record. That’s a win!

This president has constantly tested his constitutional limits, and often shown his frustration with the Constitution holding him back. Thus, it was a legitimate question based on precedents set, the president’s history of action, and the fact that the proposition offered didn’t seem to bother him.

Rand Paul has nothing but praise coming from me for putting his foot down and forcing these people to acknowledge and respect the limits of power our forefathers put on them. Bravo to him for doing so. I #StandWithRand

The Won and Done Act

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I love blue sky thinking. Coming up with new and innovative ideas that while may at first seem radical, are founded in logic and reason.

So with that in mind, I propose the Won and Done Act; and no, it’s not a typo.

The Won and Done Act I am proposing is legislation that would force government agencies to decrease in size and scope through time.

One of the problems is that like any group of employees, because they like a steady paycheck, they work hard at justifying remaining on the payroll—sometimes long after they’ve accomplished their mission. As a result, instead of agencies closing down after they’ve succeeded, or at least shrinking into a maintenance role, they continue to expand endlessly; competing for taxpayer dollars instead of showing concern for how that money is spent and what liberties are being taken away from the people paying for it.

EPA-LogoA most egregious example is the EPA. Before you think I am saying we should abolish the EPA altogether, I promise I am not that radical. Our government has a duty to protect us from anyone who threatens our rights. The EPA provides a very valuable service in this vein, because for example, we can’t just allow corporations to dump toxic waste into the river after all.

However, even though the EPA has largely thwarted America’s worst polluters and achieved their goals, they continue to grow like the Blob, and are equally terrifying. For instance, they raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the automotive industry in an attempt to decrease fossil fuel usage when the free market should be the only thing influencing this—then require components to reduce emissions that negatively impact fuel mileage. On top of that, NHTSA continually adds regulations which require components that also add weight. Physics dictates more weight results in more energy needed to propel it.

So in case you missed that nuance, the EPA mandates greater fuel mileage on new cars, then NHTSA and the EPA mandate weight adding and efficiency reducing components which ultimately reduce the overall fuel mileage. It’s like requiring someone to eat a dozen donuts then requiring they lose more weight. General-Motors_11There is little wonder GM had to be bailed out and file for bankruptcy with Uncle Sam leaning on them like that.

So here’s the concept of my Won and Done Act:

If I begrudgingly accept non life-saving government agencies, all  such government agencies should have a stated and specific goal as well as a time limit to achieve that goal. All such government positions should be temporary whenever possible.

Once an agency’s goal has been achieved or the allotted time has expired, the agency may not reinvent itself, redesign itself, or search for new ways to keep relevant unless otherwise voted and approved by the legislature or the people. If their mission is WON, then they are DONE. If they cannot complete their mission, then the mission is aborted. We must incentivize elected officials to eliminate jobs wherever possible.

No government agency should be allowed to add staff or regulations at their own discretion either. Instead, let’s create incentives for them to literally work themselves out of a job. Here are a couple of ways to accomplish this:

  • Implement a completion bonus for achieving their goal, so that when their job is eliminated, they get a reasonable bonus to allow them time to find new employment, and if they find one quickly, the bonus is just money in the bank.
  • Implement a bonus for self-elimination. If an employee can make a case that his/her job has become unnecessary, they could apply with management to eliminate their own position. We would assume they would already have another job waiting in the wings and just take the bonus.
  • Provide bonuses for management to reduce staff where possible, although this one should also include a bonus for the eliminated.

One shining example of this ideal is the US Military. United States MilitaryYou find that this sentiment is quite prevalent there. In times of conflict, people step up to do their civic duty, then once the mission is accomplished, a few will reenlist to keep the peace, but the rest return to civilian life.

So then why doesn’t the rest of government have that same mindset? There are a number of factors. The military isn’t unionized first and foremost, and the military isn’t notoriously a cushy job either. The military is run quite strictly, it’s full of men and women with courage and conviction, they are very goal oriented, and they generally signed up for the honor of serving, not because it’s a gravy job. When’s the last time you felt that sense of diligence from the people giving you your driver’s license exam?

Government service is supposed to be an honor, not a career you do until you retire. As long as they are unionized, with greater than private sector wages and benefits, they will continue to grow as more and more people fight to take advantage of those massive benefits. These incentives for government to expand must be stopped if we care about liberty and freedom.

So while my Won and Done Act may not be 100% practical, it could at least start a discussion that changes the mentality of government leaders making the decisions about how agencies operate.

Getting rid of labor unions seems like a pipe dream as well, but with successful reforms in Wisconsin, and right-to-work legislation passing in Michigan and elsewhere, we’re at least headed in the right direction. But sadly, there is currently no incentive for government agencies to work themselves out of a job, so they just keep growing. Don’t believe me? The president is touting out job growth, but he’s not so forthcoming about the fact that 73% of that growth is in government.

Marriage and government need a divorce

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Straight people being opposed to gay marriage makes as much sense as someone who is on a diet being upset that the person next to them is eating a doughnut. ~ Anonymous

I love the simplicity of this quote. Because I am heterosexual, the gay-marriage issue doesn’t personally affect me, but as a libertarian who considers liberty the single most important thing mankind should have behind food, air, and water; I am furious when people think it’s their right to dictate the behavior of others; especially when that behavior doesn’t infringe on their own rights in any way.

Blog1
United States Constitution

The U.S. Constitution, to an atheist patriotic libertarian like me, is the closest thing I have to a bible, as it ensures my freedom.

The religious-right wing of the GOP have proposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Republicans present themselves as the party that loves the Constitution, and many prominent Republicans even carry around a miniature copy in their pocket to consult whenever the desire strikes them.

Kudos to them for loving the Constitution—it’s a pretty amazing document. What concerns me is they don’t seem to comprehend or understand the sentiment behind it. There’s an underlying theme in our constitution that is often lost on people proposing such changes.

The U.S. Constitution was specifically drafted to establish a government, then restrain it. Let’s look at the 1st amendment for instance:

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.

It says, Congress shall make no law… not The people may…

This distinction means that the Constitution is a set of limits to government as demanded by the people who have the power, not permissions granted to the people by a government that has the power. Our rights are ingrained within us, not given to us by government.

Our forefathers were all oppressed by their respective homeland’s monarchies, something modern day Americans have had the good fortune to not know (Thanks veterans!), and they weren’t about to let such oppression happen here. We the people should never tolerate a government that feels it has the right to tell us what we can do. We the people decided that we wanted to create a system of government solely to protect our rights, and that’s it.

Aside from prohibition, which we rightly fixed later, the Constitution has never placed limits on the people, only the government.

So the idea of a Constitutional amendment defining marriage is specifically out of character for that document—a polar opposite to the rest of it.

Republicans complain about losing the White House; many claiming it’s because people want free stuff and are willing to vote themselves handouts. While this is certainly a part of it, Republicans also lost because many of them are mired in religious ideology that a majority of Americans, including many Christians, think the government shouldn’t be legislating. We are not a theocracy, and those wanting to legislate religion-based morals scare reasonable Americans.

The issue is much bigger than this proposed amendment however, as Government shouldn’t be in the business of marriage in the first place. Let’s go back and think about what marriage is.

Long term, it’s a commitment between two people; a contract of love, which is generally followed by a ceremony among friends and family to celebrate that union.

I defy anyone to name one good reason why government needs to be involved in any of this. The process should be pretty simple.

Marriage License
Unnecessary nonsense in a free country: AKA Marriage Licensthe process should be simple.
  • Two or more people decide they want to commit to each other.
  • They find a venue willing to perform a ceremony of their choosing.
  • They sign a contract with terms that they all agree to.
  • Done.

The only thing the government should do is enforce the contract in the event of a dispute. Meaning, if someone breaches that contract, leaves the union, and the parties can’t come to terms on how to settle their assets, a court settles it for them.

Some of you might be thinking I’m crazy—I’ve been called worse. But guess what; everything I’m proposing is already legal. It’s just that we don’t call it marriage. I could rent a hall somewhere and perform a “Love ceremony” or something like that, then enter into a contract with someone where we give power of attorney to each other and agree to some sort of legal partnership. This is basically what a marriage is, and the law will enforce that contract as it is written. The only thing I’m proposing is that the government has no business requiring you to get a license to do it, and subject you to regulations, if you want to call this contract “marriage.”

All that being said, to be fair, there should also be similar protections for the various religious entities (churches, mosques, etc.) that do not wish to perform such ceremonies, so that they indemnified from legal action if they decline to perform the service.

If the couple wants liberty, the church must have it too; otherwise it’s a hypocritical infringement of rights on the church instead of the non-traditional wedding party.

So when someone asks me whether I support legalization of gay marriage? To me, it’s just an illogical question. Government and marriage have no business being married in the first place.

Why Justice Ginsburg Should Honorably Step Down

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Earlier this month Justice Ginsburg was doing an interview in Egypt regarding their drafting of a new constitution when she said:

“I would not look to the US Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012”.

There’s no context that I’m leaving out that changes the underlying meaning of her words. She did follow it up by outlining that there are more modern ones that focus on basic human rights (as if life, liberty, and property aren’t all encompassing) and that even though the U.S. is one of the youngest nations, we have one of the oldest Constitutions in use. These caveats, however, do not change her original statement’s context which indicates she doesn’t feel our Constitution is the best constitution or even a very good one worth emulating.

Message to Justice Ginsburg—it’s the oldest one in use because it works better than all the others! Are we not the most powerful nation in the world? That should be a sign that it has done pretty well by us.

It would have been a different story if she said something to the effect of “I think the U.S. Constitution is a great document and worth emulating, but there are certainly other modern ones that are good as well if ours doesn’t suit you.” That would have at least shown a healthy respect for our Constitution without trying to shove it down their throat. However, there were no compliments or even respect shown to our Constitution whatsoever.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices are required to make certain oaths upon taking office. I have outlined them below.  Consider the following as it relates to Ginsburg’s words:

The Constitutional Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”

The Judicial Oath

“”I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.”

As a citizen, if someone disrespects the Constitution, ironically, that’s their constitutional right; I support that no matter how idiotic I think they are. But, when someone who has taken the aforementioned oaths does so while in office, then that raises an ethical issue as it relates to their job.

I don’t believe she should commit hara-kiri, or  even be impeached; her actions weren’t criminal. But as a matter of principle, she should be honest about her lack of respect for the Constitution and step down if she doesn’t feel a duty to uphold it as it is written.

The purpose of a Supreme Court Justice is to protect the minority from the majority based on the Constitution as it is written. But based on her statement, it is logical to have concern that she may base her decisions on what she believes the Constitution should be, not what it is. This is legislating from the bench, and it’s a serious threat to the system of checks and balances that ensure our government’s limitations of power over its people.

The legislative branch (Congress) enacts laws, the executive branch (President) is charged with enforcing laws, and the judicial branch (Supreme Court) determines the constitutionality of laws. The Congress is checked by the president via veto power and the Supreme Court via the striking down of laws they determine are unconstitutional. No branch is allowed to do the job of another.

In order for Justice Ginsburg to attain the position of U.S. Supreme court justice, she was first picked by the sitting president (Bill Clinton). Then once appointed, she was called to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she was asked questions about how she would adjudicate. The questions generally circle around whether she will honor the Constitution as written, or whether she would try to legislate from the bench—the latter being rather frowned upon.

The honorable thing for Justice Ginsburg to do would be to confess that, “I have decided I no longer have a passion for defending the U.S. Constitution nor ultimately believe in its principles. As a result, I feel it necessary to step down out of respect for the American people and the office of the U.S. Supreme Court so that someone with a more dutiful concern for the role may hold that seat in honor.”

I’m not holding my breath…

 

Gary’s Notes – The US Constitution

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Assuming you took the easy route at least once in school, you’ve probably used Cliff’s notes. The US Constitution is a fairly long document that uses a combination of typical language from the 1700s with a dose of legalese thrown into the mix as well. So to help out the average 21st century American, please allow me to sum up the Constitution for you in a way that modern day layman can easily understand. So here goes:


We left Europe because we don’t like your monarchies and such. We think government is generally the root of all evil, and we’re going to do everything in our power to limit it as much as possible.

Article 1

Section 1

A group of people we’ll call “Congress” are going to make the laws.

Section 2

Half of Congress will be the House of Representatives. They have to be at least 25 years old, been a citizen for 7 of them, and must live in the state they represent. They’ve got two years to get it right, or they’re out. They’ll represent no more than 30,000 people, and they’ll elect a speaker to oversee it all.

Section 3

The other half we’ll call the Senate. There will be two senators per state. They’ve got six years to do their best before they can be sent packing, but they’ll be divided into three groups and we’ll vote for a third of them every two years. Since they get longer terms, we might as well require they be 30 years old and have been here for nine years.

I know we haven’t gotten to it yet, but there will be a Vice President’s position talked about later, and this person will be the president of the Senate. For some odd reason, he won’t vote unless there’s a tie.

The Senate will handle throwing out any bums we uncover along the way.

Section 4

The Congress must meet at least once every year on the first Monday in December.

Section 5

The Congress will govern themselves, punish their own members if need be, keep a journal in case something important happens and we need to remember what it was. Unless we think it’s some top secret stuff that we don’t want anyone to know about of course, then we’ll keep that on the down-low.

Section 6

We’ll go ahead and pay these folks for their service.

Section 7

The HoR (House of Representatives) will take care of taxes. Once they write something, they’ll send it to the Senate. If it gets their OK, it goes to the president, who we also haven’t mentioned yet but we promise we will, and he can either sign it or tell them to get bent. If he tells them to get bent, 2/3 of them may agree to tell him to get bent instead and that they’re passing it whether he likes it or not.

(Notice we always say he/him when referring to the president? We assume a woman will never get the vote, and this is just a subliminal power of suggestion type thing to keep it that way.)

Section 8

Congress will be the United States’ accounting firm, currency printer, security guards, and any other things we think we need to address.

Section 9

We’re going to severely limit our powers, we won’t go back on our word, and there will never be any kings or queens up in here.

Section 10

Hey states, you don’t get to override this stuff—so don’t try it.

Article 2

Section 1

Remember that president we mentioned? Well now it’s official, we’ll have one. He’s got four years to do something awesome. If he does, you can let him do it for another four years. He has to be 35 years old, and he must be born here. Because this is a big country and Al Gore hasn’t invented the internet yet, we’ll do this convoluted system we’ll call the Electoral College. Al Gore will be mad that he didn’t invent the internet sooner, because this Electoral College will totally give him the shaft later.

This president will swear in front of everyone not to mess up. If he does, the Congress can, and will, impeach him.

Section 2

The President will be the head cheese for our military. He’ll appoint judges to the Supreme Court, appoint ambassadors, and fill other vacancies as required.

Section 3

Once a year, he’ll give a speech about how things are going. Presidents love giving speeches.

Section 4

He better not commit a crime or he’s out.

Article 3

Section 1 & 2

We’re going to have a Supreme Court made up of nine justices. They will decide whether any laws that states, cities, counties, etc. pass violate this document. Some of them will try to legislate from the bench, but we really frown upon that. They will not handle trials though. Those must be done in front of a jury. Once appointed, they are in until they choose to retire because we don’t want them making decisions based on what they think will get them reelected.

Section 3

If someone is suspected of treason, we need at least two people to have witnessed it or they’ll have to confess.

Article 4

Section 1

The states have to trust and respect each other.

Section 2

If someone commits a crime and flees the state, the state he flees to must send him back.

Section 3

We decide when a new state is admitted to the union, and you can’t have a state within a state. So don’t try it.

Section 4

If someone tries to invade a state, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.

Article 5

This document is set in stone unless 2/3 of us agree that we screwed up or left something out. In which case, we’ll unset it in stone while we make the necessary changes. Then those changes will be set in stone unless 2/3…and so on.

Article 6

If we borrow money, trust us; we’ll pay it back.

The laws we pass are law of the land. Know your role, states!

We will swear that we’ll adhere to this stuff too since we’re going to make the president do it.

Article 7

There are nine states currently and they all agree to this.

Bill Of Rights

I know we said we want to severely limit the size of government, but let’s set some ground rules.

Amendment 1

Believe what you want, say what you want, and if the press wants to run with it, that’s fine. If you don’t like something, feel free to protest, just be cool about it and play nice.

Amendment 2

We like guns. It’s only fair if you want one, you can have one too.

Amendment 3

A soldier can’t squat on your land unless we’re at war, then he might do so if the law allows it.

Amendment 4

We promise not to invade your privacy unless the courts determine it appears you may have done something wrong.

Amendment 5

If we think you did something really repugnant, we’ll put together a grand jury for that.

If we try you for something, and you beat the rap, we can’t try you again for it.

We can’t take your life, liberty, or property unless you do something wrong. If we commandeer your property, you’ll be paid fair market value for it.

Amendment 6

If we lock you up for a crime, you have the right to be tried pretty quickly so you don’t rot in purgatory. Twelve people we pick totally at random will decide if you did it or not (if you prefer). We’ll make sure you know what it is we think you did, and you are guaranteed to have someone who actually knows something about law helping you.

Amendment 7

If you have a legal issue that’s worth less than $20, don’t bother us. We have more important things to do.

Amendment 8

If you do get arrested and/or convicted, we promise to be fair about it.

Amendment 9

Assume that you have the right to do whatever the heck you want unless we say otherwise as opposed to the notion that you don’t have the right unless we say it’s OK. It’s a “Free country” thing.

Amendment 10

If we don’t write laws about something on our end, the states can if they deem necessary. It just can’t conflict with something in this document.

The Rest of the Amendments

Amendment 11

We the federal government won’t interfere with the state governments unless they violate this document—then we’re going to have words.

Amendment 12

Remember that Electoral College thing we talked about earlier? This is how it works. We’ll pick a handful of people from each state and see who they like. Then based off that, each state will pick their president of choice. Based on our best guess of how many people are in a particular state, a number of votes will be issued for that candidate per state. It’s kind of convoluted, we know, and once the internet comes, it’ll seem pretty silly.  But we like tradition, and we may keep it around anyway.

Amendment 13

Section 1

Hey slave owners. Cut it out. You can’t do that here anymore. Only we can do that, and only if someone committed a crime first.

Section 2

Don’t test us on this or we’ll do something as yet unnamed, but you probably won’t like it.

Amendment 14

Section 1

If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. No one can take that away from you.

Section 2

In the HoR, you get a rationally proportionate number of reps per persons that live in your district. Sorry Indians, but you don’t count.

Section 3

If you do anything that shows you’re an enemy of the state at any time, consider yourself persona non grata around here.

Section 4

If we say we need money to protect us, just give it to us.

Section 5

Congress will write some laws about all of this as necessary.

Amendment 15

Section 1

Anyone can vote, even former slaves.

Section 2

Listen south, we know you have a problem with this, and we don’t care. It’s the law of the land now. Don’t test us! You’ve been warned.

Amendment 16

Sorry, but we’ve got things to do. We’re going to need a few bucks from you whether you like it or not. We’ll base it off your income.

Amendment 17

There were some issues with the whole senatorial thing. We needed to clean them up a bit.

Amendment 18

Section 1

The party has hereby been canceled—drop the booze.

Section 2

If we catch you partying, you will be prosecuted

Amendment 19

Women—sorry, we completely forgot about you. You can vote now too.

Amendment 20

Section 1

We apparently forgot to be specific about the dates. Presidents, your term ends on January 20th at noon. The rest of us congressmen end our term on January 3rd at noon.

Section 2

The Congress has to meet at least once a year to earn their pay. They’ll do it on January 3rd starting at noon unless they have a golf tee time or something, then they can agree to a different day.

Section 3

If the president dies before he takes office or we find he wasn’t legally qualified to be president in the first place, the veep is in.

Section 4

If some people die in office, don’t worry. We’ll figure it out.

Section 5

For no particular reason, we want to specify that 1 and 2 take effect on October 15th

Section 6

If 75% of the states don’t agree with this, forget all of it.

Amendment 21

Section 1

Sorry about all that nonsense earlier in Amendment 18. Party back on!

Section 2

Let’s be clear, you can party, but you can’t transport the party across state lines.

Section 3

If the states don’t agree again, sorry, but party is back off.

Amendment 22

Section 1

OK, that president thing seems like it might be a little too powerful for our tastes. So once he’s done two terms, he’s out.

Section 2

…that is unless ¾ of the states don’t agree

Amendment 23

We’ve got new digs. We’re going to call it a district. It’s not really a state or even part of a state, just a district. We know it makes little sense, but don’t worry about it.

Amendment 24

If you don’t pay your taxes, you can still vote. We’re not going to let all the rich people run over the poor. So broke or not, you can vote free of charge.

Amendment 25

Section 1

If the president dies or resigns, his BFF will take his place.

Section 2

If his BFF dies or whatever, then the president can pick a new BFF to be vice president

Section 3

If we kick the president out, his BFF takes over.

Section 4

If any other reason comes about that we can’t seem to think of right now the results in the president not being president anymore, the vice president takes over.

Amendment 26

You only have to be 18 to vote no matter what state you live in.

Amendment 27

If we vote for a pay raise, it won’t take effect until after the election.


There you have it folks. The US Constitution simplified by Gary for modern times. I know I had some fun with this, but I made every attempt to actually be factual as well as humorous. I love our constitution, and encourage everyone to read it, understand it, and demand your representatives abide by it. We the people have the power with our votes to make a difference.