Apr 222011

Yesterday Congressman Cliff Stearns’ (R-Fl) amendment to the 9/11 first responders aid bill went into effect.  What is this amendment you ask?  One that has the gall to question the patriotism of the heroes of that terrible day:

“(5) DISQUALIFICATION OF INDIVIDUALS ON TERRORIST WATCH LIST.-No individual who is on the terrorist watch list maintained by the Department of Homeland Security shall qualify as an eligible WTC responder. Before enrolling any individual as a WTC responder in the WTC Program under paragraph (3), the Administrator, in  consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine whether the  individual is on such a list.”

It is exactly what it says it is. To add insult to injury the amendment was added to the bill without dissent with this odious provision going into effect yesterday. There are no words that can truly describe the depth of the disrespect shown by both parties in Congress.

With fears of Muslim takeover fanned by the Cordoba House controversy and Peter King’s radicalization circus Congress has, in the name of “pragmatic politics” acquiesced to the worst in us.  Saying any group of people, including the greatest heroes of the past decade, can be investigated as terrorists by Congressional fiat attacks the foundations of our criminal justice system.  Ever since the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1789 one of the bedrock principals of our legal system is probable cause.  Searches, arrests, and indictments cannot be obtained for any charge without first proving there is a very solid, justifiable reason to be poking around in the private lives of American citizens.  With a simple voice vote Congress has swept aside any need for probable cause declaring everyone who worked at Ground Zero in the days and weeks following 9/11 is now a suspect for terrorism.  As far as our elected representatives are concerned “pragmatic” politics trumps the rights of American heroes.

What is worse are the chilling implications of this act.  When the best among us, the heroes who rose to the call, can be declared terror suspects then any one can be put under the same microscope for no better reason than “national security” or “practical politics.”  If the Ground Zero workers can be thrown on the pyre of a new witch hunt on Congressional whim then what is stopping legislators from tossing others into the flames in a fit of political hysteria?

CORRECTION: The provision was included in the bill passed last year.  The amendment’s effects as per the Huffington Post went into effect yesterday which they learned through an unnamed source.

Also published at Ryan’s Desk

Feb 192010

I would like to discuss with you your speech at The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) today.  Now, I didn’t just read the clips that reporters thought an Olympics distracted public might want to gloss over while waiting for the next skier to crash.  I took the time to listen to the entire speech so I won’t be dissuaded by comments that you were misquoted or taken out of context.  I thought that much of your speech was exactly what a constitutional conservative should be saying.  Of your four principles on which you made the emphasis of your speech, I whole heartedly agree with three.

In inversed order, principle # 4“Bullies pick on weakness not strength” is a clear statement of common sense and Realpolitik.  I agree with the principle that our nation must remain strong militarily.

Principle # 3, “People spend their money differently when it’s their money”.  No argument.  The best way to control the rising cost of anything is to make sure the person doing the buying has a significant emotional investment in the cost.

Principle # 2, “We can’t spend more than we have.”  Fiscal conservatism at its most basic.  Again, no issue.

Principle # 1, “God is in charge.”  OhhhKaaay?  1st question.  Which God we talking about?  Yahweh, Zeus, Dagda, Odin, or maybe Hera, Cerridwyn, or Freya.   Or perhaps you meant Buddha, or Kali.

You said the founding documents of our country enshrined these ideas.  You quoted the Declaration of Independence to say that it was our creator from who our rights flow.  I think you were using this quote, incorrectly, to insinuate that the founding fathers thought that The Creator should be involved in the governance of men.  The Declaration did not speak to the governance of the colonies, only to throwing off the yoke of tyranny.  

 “Section 16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” 

This is a quote from the Virginia Declaration of Rights.  This document was written by George Mason prior to the Declaration of Independence and a document from which Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, drew heavily in writing The Declaration of Independence in 1776.  After a failed attempt at a federal government (The Articles of Confederation), the Founding Fathers went back to convention and wrote the constitution in 1787, there was no mention of God in the structure of our government.  There were no limits placed on God’s influence on our government either.  In 1789 The Bill of Rights was drafted to spell out the limits of power that government had in the lives of citizens.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”  This is the preamble to the Bill of Rights that congress set down in 1789.

It is very clear what their purpose of adding the bill of rights was intended to do, limit the abuse of the power of the constitution. The 1st limit they stepped forward to clarify was; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,.”  One of the most enduring ideas of the time of the Founding Fathers was that each person must practice his duties to God as he saw fit, and that Congress shall not establish or endorse a religion.

Governor Pawlenty, please understand that the intent of the founding fathers was to establish a government controlled by the citizens, represented by men and women of sound mind and good judgment.

Oh wait, that’s where we made our mistake.