September 2009

I don’t think a single elected representative in the US Congress fears their constituency. I think that they believe they are elected to do as they please, regardless of the input of the citizens to whom they owe their position. They feel that they are in such a position that they can ignore or rebuff the input from even a strong majority of their constituents. During the whole health care debate and the vehement grassroots opposition to the Democrat’s health care “reform” plan, I haven’t heard of a single case of a politician saying “I hear you” to their constituents.

Whether it is due to a blind political party fealty or just because they think they know what’s best for us, there hasn’t been a tacit acknowledgment that they have listened to on word that was spoken or shouted (in high frustration, I might add) at them. Perhaps they don’t really respect those they represent, or they think of these folks as idiots and children. One could get the impression that was the case when the words emerging from the mouths of the politicians run contrary to the majority public will.

I propose that indeed our elected representatives do not adequately FEAR their constituents. I don’t mean fear in a physical harm way or for their lives. I mean fear for their political future ( and political livelihood) and they don’t fear for the rights and liberties of the citizens they purport to represent.

The first thought that an elective representative should think about BEFORE they vote on a measure before them is not “does this help the people that I represent”; it should be “does this measure conform with the requirements and the strictures of the Constitution?”

Remember, any legislation can kill us with kindness. Many pieces of legislation can (and actually have) run counter to the intent of the Constitution and be (and have been) enacted under some vague penumbral interpretation of it. Yet the citizens must surrender rights due to this legislation. If our representatives, over time, do not fear for and fear of their citizens, then we will suffer a gradual erosion of our rights and liberties that should have never occurred.

The health care debate has brought to the fore that our elected representatives neither fear for or fear of us citizens. During this protracted and spirited debate, they have essentially turned a deaf ear to the will and wishes of the citizens…even going so far as to seed their town meetings with ersatz “supporters.” This action alone is insulting and just plain silly. To what end do they ignore reality while inserting a substitute version of their own?

Each and every US Representative and Senator should remind themselves on a daily basis that Article I of the Constitution is not a list of suggestions from a yellowed and wrinkled old document. Article I is their sacred responsibility to the citizens whom they represent. It represents part-and-parcel of the fear that they should have for us — that they have done their jobs properly and that they have taken their duties seriously. If these duties need to be performed outside the realm of omnipresent politics, then so be it.

Because if our elected representative and politicians do not fear for us, then they should fear of us! The health care debate has been a wake up call to the formerly silent masses. People, formerly too busy to care or pay attention, have been roused from their sleep and they now understand that they cannot trust an elected representative to be a faithful protector of their Constitutional rights. They have come to realize that they must be an active participant in insuring their rights and liberties.

I hope that their participation and their strong voices are a reminder to all those politicians-cum-representatives that they should fear their electorate. Because if they ignore the will of the people they do so at their own political peril and I guarantee that this time they will suffer the consequences of their actions. A sleeping giant has been awakened, he cannot be ignored and his will must be served!

In comments this morning preceding President Obama’s speech to America’s schoolchildren, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan decried the 30% drop out rate in American schools.

The obvious question to this staggering number is “Why?” Why are our kids in such large numbers choosing to opt out of the chief means for them improving their lives and their futures? What aren’t we doing as a society that fosters this enormous failure to inspire or instill the value of learning into our future generations?

I think I know what the proposed solution that Mr. Duncan and the Obama administration will suggest to this “problem.” Naturally, they will recommend a vigorous shaking of the money tree! Money solves everything. Throwing money at the problem of student dis-engagement will immediately invigorate the desire for learning those kids who have given up on school, and it will promote a ned spirit of educational excellence.

Uh, no! That might be the well-intentioned goal of pouring more money into the America’s education system by the government. But it will not solve the root cause problem.

In order to solve the myriad problems that lead to this dire drop out rate, we as a nation need to do some serious self-examination and find out what the major reasons behind this apparent educational malaise. I firmly believe that this may be an 80-20 problem…that 80% of the problem is found in areas outside of the student’s educational experience and the remaining 20% exists within our schools. We ask our schools to be so much to an individual child. In essence, for many children, we ask schools to take on the role as parent and guardian. Schools have evolved from a role as temples of education and learning to dispensing medicine and insuring nutrition for a growing number of school-aged children. And this evolution has been mandated by a federal government that ignores the roots of the reasons why children would need these services at school.

Why do schools provide these extra, non-traditional social services (beyond education) to children? Simply put, many parents are parents in name only. They conceived and brought the children into the world, but they are poor care givers and custodians of their children’s growth as an individual. Parents are failing their children in greater and greater numbers. Parents are allowing their problems and their failings to overshadow the needs of their kids — it seems that for many, many parents in today’s society that parental responsibility is optional. What the heck, if they fail, somebody else will pick up the pieces for them. It doesn’t matter that their failure will indelibly change their children, and create barriers to their success and prosperity.

But the ignoring of poor parenting is a natural extension of the entitlement mentality that hs been cultivated by the liberal social engineers in Washington. But the children suffer.

Hey, if you’re going to make an omelet, like changing societal norms and morals, you’re going to break some eggs. So what if these eggs are children, right? If the kids are affected by lousy parents, we can help them out in the government-run schools, like so many wards of the state.

See, it’s easier to a cowardly government to treat the children of poor parents like pseudo wards of the state than it is to cure the root cause of the problem. To demand parental responsibility. To penalize parents who don’t make the grade. To insist on child-centric behavior from adult care givers. Because wow that the genie popped out of the parental responsibility bottle, it will never be coaxed back in without society, not the government, demanding that children come first.

I can tell you that as sure as I’m typing these words that government or government-run programs will never solve the drop out problem in our schools. No number of speeches by this president or future presidents to America’s students will convince kids with troubled family lives that they will benefit from their own excellence in school. If you have a lousy family experience, then school naturally becomes a lower priority behind survival. And no amount of money, short of directly paying kids who would otherwise drop out to stay in school, will cure these root cause problems.

Hilary Clinton told us that “it takes a village” to raise our children. I completely disagree. I think raising kids to be successful, contributing members of society starts with concerned, loving parents who nurture a spirit of excellence and merit in their children. I think I can say with great confidence that the children of such parents do not drop out of school at a 30% rate. I think I can also say without much argument that the children of good parents gain in a positive, personal manner from their educational experience. No amount of money is a substitute for good parents.

I think if President Obama and Secretary Duncan were either honest or astute, they would be speaking to a different audience today. They would be speaking to parents — in particular marginal parents — and reminding them of their awesome responsibility to their children and to society at large. They would stress that parents need to accept responsibility for the proper education of their children. And they would be pressuring lawmakers to create both incentives for good parenting (tax incentives, etc.) and punative measures for bad parenting (loss of tax credits, etc.).

And they would stress that the solutions to many of the problems in our schools are more easily cured in our home towns than from Washington DC.

Until I read Massachusetts Senate Bill 2028, I don’t think I’ve read a more sweeping piece of proposed legislation that tramples on both the US and state Constitutional rights of citizens in our Commonwealth. And for this bill to have been unanimously passed by the MA Senate speaks volumes to the (not so) hidden contempt that they have for the Constitution or us citizens.

The link to the bill on the Mass legis system may be found HERE.

Now, I understand that this is 2009 and we’re almost to the point where we’re flying around in Jetson’s cars. Society is, after all, advancing. But the one thing that cannot change is the relationship of the average citizen to their constitutional rights, regardless of how much time has passed since our adoption (as a country) of this document.

Senate bill 2028, under the guise of an emergency, a pandemic, allows the government to intrude into our lives in ways that are in direct opposition to the constitutional rights of the individual. For example, in Section 2B (b), during a declared health emergency the Mass. Public Health Commissioner may authorize:

  1. to require the owner or occupier of premises to permit entry into and investigation of the premises;
  2. to close, direct, and compel the evacuation of, or to decontaminate or cause to be decontaminated any building or facility, and to allow the reopening of the building or facility when the danger has ended;
  3. to decontaminate or cause to be decontaminated, or to destroy any material;
  4. to restrict or prohibit assemblages of persons;
  5. to require a health care facility to provide services or the use of its facility, or to transfer the management and supervision of the health care facility to the department or to a local public health authority;
  6. to control ingress to and egress from any stricken or threatened public area, and the movement of persons and materials within the area;
  7. to adopt and enforce measures to provide for the safe disposal of infectious waste and human remains, provided that religious, cultural, family, and individual beliefs of the deceased person shall be followed to the extent possible when disposing of human remains, whenever that may be done without endangering the public health;
  8. to procure, take immediate possession from any source, store, or distribute any antitoxins, serums, vaccines, immunizing agents, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutical agents or medical supplies located within the commonwealth as may be necessary to respond to the emergency;
  9. to require instate health care providers to assist in the performance of vaccination, treatment, examination, or testing of any individual as a condition of licensure, authorization, or the ability to continue to function as a health care provider in the commonwealth;
  10. to waive the commonwealth’s licensing requirements for health care professionals with a valid license from another state in the United States or whose professional training would otherwise qualify them for an appropriate professional license in the commonwealth;
  11. to allow for the dispensing of controlled substances by 103 appropriate personnel consistent with federal statutes as necessary for the prevention or treatment of illness;
  12. to authorize the chief medical examiner to appoint and prescribe the duties of such emergency assistant medical examiners as may be required for the proper performance of the duties of the office;
  13. to collect specimens and perform tests on any animal, living or deceased;
  14. to exercise authority under sections 95 and 96 of chapter 111;
  15. to care for any emerging mental health or crisis counseling needs that individuals may exhibit, with the consent of the individuals.

Also found in Section 13 (95) (b):

  1. to vaccinate or provide precautionary prophylaxis to individuals as protection against communicable disease and to prevent the spread of communicable or possibly communicable disease, provided that any vaccine to be administered must not be such as is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual;

So, now we have a proposed law, written under the aegis of “public safety” that essentially declares martial law on its citizens during a time of health crisis…and it thwarts or abridges many of our constitutional rights and liberties like the right to privacy, the right to freely assemble, and the right to have control of our own bodies. Perhaps the Massachusetts Senate was taking advantage of presidential adviser Rahm Emmanuels’ theory that you should never let a crisis go to waste. So, why not use a pandemic or other health situation to unleash a major governmental power play?

The Constitution is set up as a framework that defines and then assures the protection of the personal rights and liberties enumerated within it. Furthermore, the government is society’s watchdog that our rights are vigorously protected. Senate bill 2028 replaces the precious rights of the individual and substitutes the needs of society at large in their place. This is not only wrong, it is madness. Each individual person is the custodian of their rights and liberties. If each of us allows our rights to be abridged or co-opted by legislators who claim to be looking out for our collective interests, then we can expect to have our individual rights either ignored or trampled by future  well-meaning legislation that can be dreamed up by our “protectors.”

Perhaps the members of the legislature need to be vigorously reminded that they represent us, not rule us! Because truth be told, the provisions of 2028 sound more like commands from an autocratic ruler rather than carefully crafted provisions that first and foremost protect the individual rights of the citizens they purport to protect.

Now, having said what I just said, I don’t want to see a pandemic kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of citizens. But I personally would rather take the chance of succumbing to the swine flu or some other pathogen with all of my Constitutional rights intact than surviving with rights provided to me (via 2028) as a cog in a larger machine.

When all is said and done, damn it, we are freeborn Americans with protected rights. These rights are too precious for me to allow them to be superseded FOR ANY REASON. Because once we start to slide down the slippery slope that is embodied by Senate bill 2028, we can expect to see our rights further eroded with future, well-meaning, legislation.

In these matters you can count me out!

Our new senior senator held his first (and probably only) town meeting on health care at the Somerville High School last evening. Newspaper accounts have described this as a meeting with more proponents than opponents of health care “reform.” I agree, particularly since this event was heavily advertised and organized by Barack Obama’s “Organizing for America” (OFA). In fact, Kerry’s event was termed by OFA as part of the Listening Tour. You can see a PDF of the event from their website HERE (interestingly, all references to this town meeting have been scrubbed from the OFA website — curious!).

From the news clips that I saw, Kerry did precious little listening, particularly to the opponents of Obamacare. In fact, Kerry came to Somerville not to listen, but to preach. He was trying to convince the hoi polloi that Obamacare is a good deal for them, even with all the evidence to the contrary.

What occurred in Somerville, though, was more of an echo chamber than a stop on a Listening Tour due to the craven Astroturfing of the event by OFA. The reason there were more “supporters” of Obamacare present because they were asked to go…organized by Obama and his crafty minions at the DNC.

At one point, when a woman in the audience questioned him regarding his fealty to the Constitution, he shot back “what kind of person are you…what kind of country should we be?”

I didn’t see the woman’s reply, but mine would have been that there isn’t a single word about compassion in the Constitution. The United States is a constitutional republic. And Senator Kerry, you took an oath to uphold the Constitution.

If you want to practice compassion, you have the personal resources to do so. You can start a trust or fund (with like-minded, compassionate, liberal socialists) some private health care organization to subsidize and provide “affordable” health care to those in need. NOTHING stops you as private citizen Kerry do either of these, or more…but that three centuries-old document written by divinely inspired patriots, does. The Congress has no Constitutional power to provide anything based on compassion…and the Congress has no power or authority to grant the citizens of our country “rights.” Rights like the right to health care, one that has never been mentioned in the Constitution. Rights come from God, not from men!

Beyond your flaccid and ineffectual remarks in Somerville, Senator, you should demonstrate that you practice rigid fealty to our Constitution, even if it puts your political ambitions and future in jeopardy. In Massachusetts all we can hope for is a well funded and organized challenge to you in 2014. The citizens of this great state deserve much better and less effete and detached representation from those we elect.

There are two issues involved in the health care debate that need to be resolved to the satisfaction of the average American citizen:

1.) Is the concept of universal health care, that is health care as a right, constitutional? Many, including me, do not think this is so. There is no specific constitutional language that allows the Congress to craft, consider and pass such sweeping legislation that will provide health services to American citizens and determine our “rights” in regards to this service. The ability for Congress to write such legislation has been considered in modern times as part of a penumbra (definition:  a body of rights held to be guaranteed by implication in a civil constitution), but this liberal interpretation of the Constitution circumvents the intent of the Founders in all cases. The common tactic to allow for sweeping social legislation is to use the “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States” clause in Section 8 of Article I. But notice that the exact wording of this clause is “Welfare of the United States”…not welfare of the individual citizen. In the time of the Founders, the commonly accepted definition of “Welfare” was “prosperity; well-being”, so that clause actually meant provide for the prosperity and well-being of the United States.

I believe that the Founders NEVER intended the Constitution to be interpreted with a Ouija board, nor for that clause to be a magical way for Congress to use the common largess to enable give-away’s from the government.

2.) If, somehow, the legislation can pass Constitutional muster, can the Congress force behaviors on the citizens of the United States? The Bill of Rights is quite clear as to the rights of the individual citizens. And the power of the Congress to legislate or mandate strictures on the individual citizen is contained in Article I, Section 8, enumerated as follows:

From The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

If one examines the duties and powers of the Congress, one will find that the Founders intended the Congress to concentrate on the security, safety, prosperity and well-being of our Union…in essence act as a custodian or a security guard. They did not intend the Congress to be our Big Brother or a generous goody-giver or rights-granter. And they NEVER intend the Congress to consider sweeping legislation that affects all our health care, perhaps the most private segment of an individual’s life. Let’s face it, health care is of great concern to a parent or care giver or an individual, but not to a custodian or security guard!

It’s time to wake up Americans…its time to TAKE BACK OUR Constitution from the vote-whore politicians who would interpret this divinely inspired document for their own gains and for further political power. Don’t allow a bunch of power-hungry custodians to further rule and constrain your life in a manner that is in direct contravention to your Constitutional rights.

Because once they are allowed to do just that, they will penumbra us to death with their interpretations and their laws and we will end up enslaved and beholding to the very government that we are supposed to control.