Yesterday, 17 September, marked the 224th anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. Of late, it seems our Constitution is under attack and the federal government wants to expand its reach beyond Constitutional authority.
As a case in point, from my perspective, the government has no authority to require me to buy health insurance. Or anything else, for that matter. Requiring the purchase of health insurance does not fall under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. The Constitution is as the center of the political debate:
The struggle over the holiday is yet another proxy in the fight over the proper role of government. On one side are those who embrace an “originalist” view of the Constitution, where New Deal judicial activism started the country down the path to ruin. On the other are those who say that its language — allowing Congress to levy taxes to provide “for the general welfare,” to regulate commerce, and to do what is “necessary and proper” to carry out its role—affirms the broad role of the federal government that has developed over the last 100 years.
The fear induced by the attacks of 9/11 led to the USA PATRIOT act and subsequent losses or restrictions of civil liberties and freedoms. The most apparent aggregiousness is with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and their seemingly arbitrary and inefective rules for airport checkpoint screening.
Not satisfied with just cowing ordinary citizens, the today’s government seeks to silence internal dissenters and whistleblowers. The federal hegemonic conspiracy is no longer a Republican or Democratic construct. Rather, it is the result of the government seeking to ensure its own continued survival despite its citizens.
Previously on the Constitution and rights erosion:
As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks draws near, coming on the heals of the end of Ramadan and releases of a couple reports on Muslims in America, it’s easy for conversations to turn to jihadists—Muslim extremists. The truth is extremists of any kind are dangerous. It’s also true the majority of terrorist activities in the past decade were carried out by people hiding behind the Islamic religion. This does not make them Islamists, although some may have been. The Ayatollahs in Iran are real Islamists. Still, the end result is a very real and deliberate undertone of Islamohobia—the fear of Muslims.
A Center for American Progrss report released 26 August describes the funding and efforts fueling Islamophobia. Despite their loyalties, good work ethic, civic-mindedness, and being law-abiding, in general, there is a lot of mistrust of Muslims in the population at large.
Muslim-Americans are, generally, satisfied with current conditions “despite a feeling [Muslims] are being targeted by anti-terrorism government programs.” While we want feel and be secure, we value our rights more. Consider the Old Man’s post about concerns with the hijab:
There’s been a lot of flack over Muslim women wearing their traditional head dress out in the public here in America. One of the latest was at Rye Playland in New York where a group of Muslim women were barred from certain rides because of their headscarves. Do we, the other public, know what banning the religious head dress for a particular religious culture could lead to?
Yeah, yeah! The Old Man is fully aware of the attacks on America, and Americans abroad, by Muslims. But have we taken our revenge too far? It may be appropriate to check people, and even their clothing, for any weapons or bombs in public gatherings or boarding a public means of transportation. But think about this for a moment. If we are to ban Muslim clothing simply because a certain group of people don’t like it, what are we supposed to do about the other religions??????
Latter Day Saints
It’s no secret Detroit has its problems, but Focus:HOPE is one of its gems. Today we mourn the passing of one of Focus:HOPE’s founders, Eleanor Josaitis. While others fled Detroit following the 1967 riots, Josaitis moved into the city. She co-founded Focus: HOPE with Fr. William Cunnigham in 1968.
For the next 43 years, Josaitis worked to bring social justice, civil rights, and improved job skills to underpriviledged Detroiters. She cared about her community and its residents. Her goal was to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice. Josaitis frequently said:
There’s no greater way to eliminate racism and poverty than to see that people have education, skills, jobs and opportunities in life.
Josaitis’ legacy is an organization that provides an after-school photography program, gives people necessary and relevant job skills, and education, including engineering degrees.
Eleanor Josaitis “believed in Detroit and its people and believed each one of us can make a difference. … Her influence was felt from board rooms to soup kitchens.” Eleanor Josaitis was part of what makes Detroit great.
Previously on Focus: HOPE:
Merry Christmas to all and may you enjoy every blessing.
Please remember our military personnel who have and are serving in harm’s way, and their families as well. Their selfless service is why we all are free to celebrate (on not) Christmas and the holidays according to the religious traditions of our choice. These freedoms are not free so I offer a Christmas blessing for the fallen warriors.
HT: Dewey From Detroit and theblogprof.
On Monday, 08 November, Denair Middle School told a student to stop displaying the US flag on school grounds. According to Superintendent Edward Parraz, officials were concerned about racial tensions. Excuse me? The US flag causes racial tensions? I thought that was the Stars and Bars.
Mr. Parraz said the Campus Supervisor told Cody Alecia he couldn’t fly the US flag out of concern for Cody’s safety. Parraz blamed the matter on Cinco de Mayo which, by the way, is not a US holiday like Veterans Day.
Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want.
Denair Middle School is in mid-central California, southeast of Modesto. I realize all of California has a large Hispanic population, but it’s not like Denair is a border or urbanized region. Thus, it doesn’t follow that Cody’s display of the US flag could be seen as anti-Hispanic or even counter to celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Alecia had been displaying the US flag on his bike since the beginning of the school year, so this is not a new issue.
Today, 12 November, the school district decided Cody Alecia could display the US flag. This was in the face of nationwide outrage and a community march on the school. As a side note, perhaps Fox 40 personnel should undertake some remedial spelling and grammar classes. In any case, Supt. Parraz said:
[The] First Amendment is important. We want the kids to respect it, understand it, and with that comes a responsibility.
Besides dissing veterans in this week that includes Veterans Day, Denair fails to address the underlying issues. Does anyone doubt this could have longer term impact on society at large?
As a result of the nationwide controversy, Cody Alecia is flying the US flag from his bike once again. Score one for correct over political correctness.
Previously on the US Flag:
Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association (PNFOA) referees used pink whistles and donated their checks for last Thursday’s game to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The 140 referees all agreed to raise breast cancer awareness and donate their pay for the game to breast cancer research. In an era of few suitable role models, the officials’ public statement and act of charity seems noble.
Not so fast. It seems the pink whistles violate Washington Officials Association (WOA) rules. The WOA provides oversight and direction for officiating in all interscholastic sports. According to WOA’s chairman, Todd Stordahl:
They chose not to ask for permission, not to go the right route. It sends the wrong message to kids that are playing the game. ‘If they broke the rules why can’t I do the same.’
Instead of accolades for their civic mindedness, WOA is considering punishing the referees for being out of uniform. They could be suspended for two playoff games, depriving them of officiating at the premier events of their sport. The officials would also not be paid for those games. In that case, their donation of Thursday’s game check became three times as costly. High school referees don’t do it for the money, but that’s a pretty high price for demonstrating to kids they should be part of something bigger than themselves.
According to a poll by TV station KING, 94% support the referees and only 4% think the WOA is in the right. The remaining 1% couldn’t make up their minds. It’s such a complicated issue, afterall.
Public opinion can influence decisions. It seems Stordahl is sorry he came out so strongly against the referees. Apparently, a decision on disciplinary action now won’t be made until after the season. Stordahl said it’s all about following the chain-of-command.
WOA deeply regrets that there’s any perception that we don’t support any breast cancer programs. As someone who follows sports, that’s all that we have are rules, regulations and interpretations.
Columbus Day has become controversial in recent years. Careful analysis shows much of that controversy is really attributable to those that followed Christopher Columbus, not the explorer himself. Equally as important, however the world today would not be the same without Columbus’ expedition. Would there be a Latin America without Spain having underwritten Columbus’ expedition and then following in droves to colonize South America? What form would the United States take today without Columbus?
Although there is much anti-American sentiment in the world, the most vociferous is Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Chavez blames US imperialism for holding South America down. Chavez has ruled Venezuela for a decade now. During this time, he’s been solidifying his hold on power and establishing a clearly socialist dictatorship. But average Venezuelans still lack services such as electricity. Civil rights have been abridged and the economy ravaged by alienating foreign capital and too much reliance on oil prices.
Not satisfied there, Chavez continues his saber rattling, even with neighboring Columbia. Perhaps its the name. Why else would Venezuela feel the need to buy state-of-the-art fighter jets and tanks from Russia. Besides stirring the pot in South America, Chavez is blatantly anti-US and blames Columbus for all the ills and injustices of the western hemisphere. Chavez has set himself on an anti-Columbus crusade.
Columbus Day is more than a holiday. It represents the development of the modern world. And, to me, it means the same as Anti Hugo Chavez Day. Here’s a holiday tradition for you: don’t buy Venezuelan-owned Citgo products on Columbus Day.