The Constitution is difficult to amend

Justice John Paul Stevens explains that gun control initiatives are not necessarily contrary to the Second Amendment.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillNothing is more fundamental in our democracy than our right to vote. “We are witnesses today to attacks on that hard-won right… Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP… reminded us that our votes were paid for with blood.” So, of all the Supreme Court decisions in the last couple of years, the one gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was among the most troubling. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You.

Therefore, I was slack-jawed when some guy wrote: “The Democrats have had a dream run in the Supreme Court over the past 6 years until now.” In response to all of the failings of the Court over decades, a writer suggested five ways to reform SCOTUS, which will NEVER happen.

Speaking of “will never happen”: From Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, by former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens. “The politics of the Second Amendment became the focal point of the gun debate. Gun supporters argued against the federal government’s claim that background checks and limitations on certain firearms should be put in place through public policy. In this excerpt, Justice Stevens explains that gun control initiatives are not necessarily contrary to the Second Amendment and that it is Congress’ responsibility to pass sensible legislation to prevent future tragedies.”

Something I hope will happen: a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, challenge corporate power, and eliminate unlimited campaign spending. There are a number of state and local resolutions supporting it. But it’s very difficult to amend the Constitution. Even if the US Senate passes such legislation, I sincerely doubt the House will any time soon.
xkcd explains the First Amendment (strong language). To that end, Arthur explains the difference between fascism and free speech. And, I’d say, it isn’t just progressive gays dumped on the “fascist” end of the spectrum, but the “feminazis” (pretty much anyone who owns up to being a feminist) and the “race baiters”/”race hustlers” (usually defined as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Hussein Obama.)

Also, when a hospital worker is fired over remarks on her Facebook page – “urging police to ‘purge’ protesters in Ferguson, MO by ‘mowing them down with machine guns,'” This is NOT a violation of the woman’s Constitutional rights. “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…” This applies to the states too, per the Fourteenth Amendment, but it does NOT apply to the hospital.

AND the woman doesn’t seem to be all that concerned about the Ferguson protesters’ First Amendment rights.
Or, for that matter, their Fifth Amendment right NOT to be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Or their Sixth Amendment rights to a “speedy and public trial.”

Jaquandor loves this quote from the court case section of the film Amistad; for more info re the actual 1839-1841 case, read here.

Can We Have Bipartisan Agreement To Stop Complaining About Presidential Vacations?. I’m less irritated than bored by this. Especially from Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal kvetching about Obama, when she used to work for Ronald Reagan, no vacation slouch.

Church and state: Francis I

If a Catholic priest were to echo Francis’ complaint about the rich-poor divide, that might be safe territory.

I found this graphic really interesting. The Socialist US Senator is embracing the Pope’s condemnation of “doctrinaire capitalism, ‘deified markets,” trickle-down economics, and the finance industry. He decried the growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax evasion by the wealthy, and characterized ruthless free-market economics as a killer that was inherently sinful.” I assume this will mean that the Pope will be painted as a socialist.

Francis, moreover, launched a broadside against former President Ronald Reagan’s signature economic theory, which continues to serve as conservative Republican dogma.

Of course, he’s in the Vatican, so he’s insulated from the US political issue. But I’m always re-examining what “separation of church and state” means. (And so is Dustbury.) I will make the case that being a good Christian – in my definition, obviously – could be, may be perceived as a political statement. If a Catholic priest were to echo Francis’ complaint about the rich-poor divide, perhaps by calling for raising the minimum wage, that might be safe territory. But if he were to name names, such as calling out the late 40th US President, that might well be crossing the line to partisan political talk that could theoretically get one’s tax-exempt status yanked.

Certainly promoting, or denouncing a political party or candidate can be a treacherous path, whereas, say, praying for the President and Congress and the federal courts to do good and just actions is OK. Calling for the closing of the wage-productivity gap is OK, but calling out the politicians who created the system, not so much.

It was weird watching Peggy Noonan on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday. She was SO pleased by the new pope, who was bringing back some of the disaffected Catholics, even though he was directly dissing her former employer and mentor, Ronald Reagan, who she clearly adores (present tense). It’s enough to give other denominations a case of pope envy.

Francis still stubbornly traditional positions on women’s ordination and other issues notwithstanding, I’m liking this Pope; the fact that his position is considered radical by some tells how far from Christ’s teaching some of the church has become.
Bill O’Reilly speaks on behalf of Jesus about the scourge of Food Stamps

No, the US is NOT closing the Vatican embassy.

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