Archive for the ‘Liberties’ Category

ACLU Director: Bush Was “Very worst President for civil liberties”

January 13, 2009

A couple days ago on the Colbert Report, Steven Colbert interviewed American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Anthony Romero.  In the interview, Romero said that Bush was the “very worst President for civil liberties,” and later that he was “the worst President in 8 long years.”  Perhaps he meant “for 8 long years,” since he was the only President in the past 8 years, so Romero’s statement really didn’t make sense.  (Sorry this is up a few days late – I lost me entire draft that I wrote the 1st time, and that took a few hours to do.)  Anyway, watch the video, and I’ll discuss his statements below.


So, what do I think about Romero’s statements?  I think his high school American history teacher would be ashamed of him.

Now, I’m not arguing that President Bush has been a champion of civil liberties.  I think he overstepped his powers, and I think the Republican Party (and some of the Democratic Party) stood by and let him.  And now, the Republican Party is paying for it, and this country will be paying for it for years to come.  Still, I don’t think that Bush did it just for fun.  He had legitimate reasons, but I think he went too far at times.  Anyway, let’s look at 4 Presidents who I think did much worse for civil liberties than Bush has:

John Adams

Why John Adams?  The Alien and Sedition Acts, that’s why:

First, we have the Alien Friends Act (officially titled “An Act Concerning Aliens”) (we’re going to leave the Naturalization Act out of this discussion since it isn’t relevant, but technically was the first one to be passed).  Let’s take a look at the first 2 sections of the bill:

An Act concerning Aliens.

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States at any time during the continnuance of this act, to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government thereof, to depart out of the territory of the United States, within such time as shall be expressed in such order, which order shall be served on such alien by delivering him a copy thereof, or leaving the same at his usual abode, and returned to the office of the Secretary of State, by the marshal or other person to whom the same shall be directed.  And in case any alien, so ordered to depart, shall be found at large within the United States after the time limited in such order for his departure, and not having obtained a license from the President to reside therein, or having obtained such license shall not have conformed thereto, every such alien shall, on conviction thereof, be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years, and shall never after be admitted to become a citizen of the United States.  Provided always, and be it further enacted, that if any alien so ordered to depart shall prove to the satisfaction of the President, by evidence to be taken before such person or persons as the President shall direct, who are for that purpose hereby authorized to administer oaths, that no injury or danger to the United States will arise from suffering such alien to reside therein, the President may grant a license to such alien to remain within the United States for such time as he shall judge proper, and at such place as he may designate.  And the president may also require of such alien to enter into a bond to the United States, in such penal sum as he may direct, with one or more sufficient sureties to the satisfaction of the person authorized by the President to take the same, conditioned for the good behavior of such alien during his residence in the United States, and not violating his license, which license the President may revoke, whenever he shall think proper.

SEC 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, whenever he may deem it necessary for the public safety, to order to be removed out of the territory thereof, any alien who may or shall be in prison in pursuance of this act; and to cause to be arrested and sent out of the United States such of those aliens as shall have been ordered to depart therefrom and shall not have obtained a license as aforesaid, in all cases where, in the opinion of the President, the public safety requires a speedy removal.  And if any alien so removed or sent out of the United States by the President shall voluntarily return thereto, unless by permission of the President of the United States, such alien on conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned so long as, in the opinion of the President, the public safety may require.

APPROVED, June 25, 1798.

Alright, now we have the Alien Enemies Act (officially titled “An Act Respecting Alien Enemies”):

An Act Respecting Alien Enemies

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever there shall be a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion shall be perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States, by any foreign nation or government, and the President of the United States shall make public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States, and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured and removed, as alien enemies. And the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized, in any event, as aforesaid, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, towards the aliens who shall become liable, as aforesaid; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject, and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those, who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, shall refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which shall be found necessary in the premises and for the public safety: Provided, that aliens resident within the United States, who shall become liable as enemies, in the manner aforesaid, and who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility, or other crime against the public safety, shall be allowed, for the recovery, disposal, and removal of their goods and effects, and for their departure, the full time which is, or shall be stipulated by any treaty, where any shall have been between the United States, and the hostile nation or government, of which they shall be natives, citizens, denizens or subjects: and where no such treaty shall have existed, the President of the United States may ascertain and declare such reasonable time as may be consistent with the public safety, and according to the dictates of humanity and national hospitality.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after any proclamation shall be made as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the several courts of the United States, and of each state, having criminal jurisdiction, and of the several judges and justices of the courts of the United States, and they shall be, and are hereby respectively, authorized upon complaint, against any alien or alien enemies, as aforesaid, who shall be resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President of the United States shall and may establish in the premises, to cause such alien or aliens to be duly apprehended and convened before such court, judge or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint. and sufficient cause therefor appearing, shall and may order such alien or aliens to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties of their good behaviour, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations which shall and may be established as aforesaid, and may imprison, or otherwise secure such alien or aliens, until the order which shall and may be made, as aforesaid, shall be performed.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the marshal of the district in which any alien enemy shall be apprehended, who by the President of the United States, or by order of any court, judge or justice, as aforesaid, shall be required to depart, and to be removed, as aforesaid, to provide therefor, and to execute such order, by himself or his deputy, or other discreet person or persons to be employed by him, by causing a removal of such alien out of the territory of the United States; and for such removal the marshal shall have the warrant of the President of the United States, or of the court, judge or justice ordering the same, as the case may be.

APPROVED, July 6, 1798.

And lastly we have the Sedition Act (officially entitled “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States”):

An Act in addition to the act, entitled “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty, and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be ho]den to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in Republication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, that the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

APPROVED, July 14, 1798.

Alright, CLEARLY the things that Bush has done against civil rights (as outlined in the interview above – things like Guantanamo, wiretapping, etc…) weren’t as bad as what Adams did.  If Bush were to follow what Adams had done, we’d be deporting Iraqis and Afghans left and right.  We’d probably be deporting the French and Germans who are speaking out against the war too.  And I’m guessing that CBS and Dan Rather would be in jail for around 2 years and would be paying around $2,000 for that false report that CBS did a few years ago.

Now, on to our next civil rights violating President:

Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln had 18,000 rebel leaders arrested and held in military prisons without trials.  Let’s look at the specific case of Maryland cavalry Lieutenant John Merryman (he assisted in kicking Union troops out of the area after a riot broke out as the Union forces were changing trains at  a station) in the case Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861):

Lincoln wrote a letter to General Winfield Scott on April 27, 1861, allowing Scott to suspend the writ of habeas corpus within the vicinity of the “military line”.  Originally, this was kept a secret, but by May of 1861, several members of the Maryland legislature had been arrested without grounds or stated charges.

Merryman said that this was illegal and took his case to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the judge at the time was Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.  Taney sided against Lincoln, but Lincoln decided that he would just ignore the ruling.  It is then rumored that Lincoln may have quickly issued and then retracted an arrest warrant for Taney, but the historical accurateness of this claim is disputed.  Anyway, several other cases similar to the Merryman case went before federal judges, but Lincoln ignored all of them.  Eventually Congress suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

Now, compare this to Bush.  Bush hasn’t arrested 18,000 American citizens, and he hasn’t ignored nearly as many court rulings as Lincoln had either.

On to the next President:

Woodrow Wilson

President Wilson signed into law the following  2 bills: the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.  Let’s take a look at those real quick.  First, we have an excerpt from the Espionage Act of 1917:

Section 3

Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.

Section 4

If two or more persons conspire to violate the provisions of section two or three of this title, and one or more of such persons does any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as in said sections provided in the case of the doing of the act the accomplishment of which is the object of such conspiracy. Except as above provided conspiracies to commit offences under this title shall be punished as provided by section thirty-seven of the Act to codify, revise, and amend the penal laws of the United States approved March fourth, nineteen hundred and nine.

And here’s an excerpt from the Sedition Act of 1918:

Section 3
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the United States or the making of loans by or to the United States, and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment services of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute, or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States, or to promote the cause of its enemies, or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war in which the United States may be engaged, with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States in the prosecution of war, and whoever shall willfully advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated, and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or the imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both: Provided, That any employee or official of the United States Government who commits any disloyal act or utters any unpatriotic or disloyal language, or who, in an abusive and violent manner criticizes the Army or Navy or the flag of the United States shall be at once dismissed from the service..

Section 4
When the United States is at war, the Postmaster General may, upon evidence satisfactory to him that any person or concern is using the mails in violation of any of the provisions of this Act, instruct the postmaster at any post office at which mail is received addressed to such person or concern to return to the postmaster at the office at which they were originally mailed all letters or other matter so addressed, with the words “Mail to this address undeliverable under Espionage Act” plainly written or stamped upon the outside thereof, and all such letters or other matter so returned to such postmasters shall be by them returned to the senders thereof under such regulations as the Postmaster General may prescribe.

Under these acts, a man was put on trial over his statements about not wanting to buy Liberty Bonds.  In addition to that, over 50 American newspapers had their mailing privileges stripped, and all German-language or German-American newspapers had their mailing privileges removed.

In addition to these 2 acts, Wilson also allowed the American Protective League to assist law enforcement agencies.  The APL was formed by Chicago businessman A.M. Briggs, under the permission of U.S. Attorney General Thomas Gregory.  The group was given government-issued badges and they officially “organized with the Approval and operating under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation.”  The APL was a group of 250,000 people spread across 600 cities who helped crack down on those who were believed to be helping the Germans or opposing the U.S. government.  The group illegally detained U.S. citizens who were members of labor and pacifist movements.

Again, this is nothing close to what George Bush has done.  If Bush were following the epionage and sedition acts, CBS executives and Dan Rather would have been fined and put in jail for running  that false story about President Bush’s Air National Guard service.  Instead, Rather kept his job (for a while) without any criminal charges being filed.  Clearly Wilson was worse than Bush when it comes to civil liberties.

And that leads us to our last liberty looter:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Perhaps the most infamous (probably because it’s the most recent) violation of civil liberties was FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which was the executive order for the internment of Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals.  Here’s a copy of Executive Order 9066:

Executive Order No. 9066

The President

Executive Order

Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas

Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House,

February 19, 1942.

Under that order, somewhere around 120,000 people were held in internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 62% of which were American citizens.  Compare this to Bush, who has held around 800 people in Guantanamo.  And those people weren’t even American citizens!

The point that I’m trying to make in all of this is NOT that I justify Bush’s actions.  I think he has overstepped his Constitutional bounds, with the wiretapping and his signing statements.  But to say that he’s the WORST President for civil liberties is just insulting to American history.  I would be ashamed to be Romero’s American history teacher right now, because clearly, he has forgotten some very important parts.  Looking back 20 or so years from now, the history books will be kinder to Bush.  I don’t think he’s anywhere near perfect, but he’s certainly hasn’t violated civil liberties as much as the 4 Presidents that I’ve just listed.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Fire Marshal Handcuffs Woman for Swearing

August 21, 2008

Alright, so I heard about this on the radio earlier this week, but I’ve been so busy getting ready for college and other stuff that I just haven’t had time to post this.

So, here’s what happened:

On August 4th, in La Marque, Texas, 28-year-old Kathryn “Kristi” Fridge went with her mother to the local Walmart (FM 1764 and Interstate 45) with her mother and 2-year-old daugter to get supplies in preparation for impending Tropical Storm Eduardo.

She went over to buy batteries, but there were none left.  Fridge told reporters, “I was like, ‘Dang.’  I looked at my mom and said, ‘They’re all f***ing gone.’”

Captain Alfred Decker, the La Marque assistant fire marshal (certified by the state of Texas as firefighter, peace officer, fire investigator and fire inspector) came up to her in uniform, and told her, “You need to watch your mouth” (quote from Fridge).

Fridge told reporters, “I was like, ‘Oh, OK.  Sorry?’”

Decker ordered Fridge to follow him to his car, because that was where his citation book was, but she protested.  She eventually listened, but as he led her to his car, she yelled to some on-lookers, “Can you believe this?  He’s f***ing arresting me for saying ‘f***’!”

She later told reporters, “When I got outside, I saw he was a fire marshal — I saw his car.  I said, ‘You’re not even a cop!’  He said,  ‘I can do this.’”

Decker then asked for her name, and she spelled it out both verbally and in sign language (according to her – Decker hasn’t commented because there’s a pending court case).  She said that this angered him and he handcuffed her.

But La Marque Fire Chief Todd Zacherl said that because Fridge made a scene, Decker was forced to act.  He told reporters, “She cussed him, she cussed everybody. By now, we have a huge group of people looking.”  Fridge denies this saying that she never cursed at Decker.  Her mother (Kathryn Rice, from Santa Fe) backed up her story, saying, “She never got nasty with him; she never cussed at him.”

Zacherl went on to say that Decker handcuffed her for his own safety, because Fridge was being belligerent and Decker had to turn his back to get his citation book and run her name to see if she had any warrants.

Fridge was then ticketed for disorderly conduct (a Class C misdemeanor) and then released.

On August 7th, Fridge went to the La Marque Fire Department to speak with Zacherl, and she took forms to file an official complaint, but as of last week had not filed the papers yet.

She told reporters, “I’m not out to sue or get money—I just want them to drop this ticket.  Yes, I probably shouldn’t have cussed in public, but he took it way too far.”

Zacherl disagreed, saying, “When you’re in uniform, you have to uphold the laws.  It’s like if he was on the way home and saw a drunk driver—he had to act.”

Personally, I think the fire marshal was perfectly in the right here.  He handcuffed her for his own safety.  He didn’t arrest her, he detained her.  This is a common practice that police officers use to ensure their safety.  It was HER who caused the scene, not him.  It was either handcuff her or call for back-up (which would mean calling the police department, since it’s not the fire marshal’s job to back somebody up like that).

As for the legality of the ticket, it’s perfectly within Texas law.  You can’t go around swearing.  The public as a whole has decided that they do not want profanity allowed in public (they did this by electing the officials who put that law into practice, and have not disagreed with that law by passing a citizen sponsored initiative to overturn it).

This was done in a public place where there are children who don’t need to be subjected to profanity.  I know little 3-year-olds who go around using the f-word because their parents just curse whenever they want to.

This isn’t a violation of free speech.  I can’t go up to a little 4-year-old and say, “Hey you little f****er!” so saying it within hearing distance of anybody else violates that principle of “breach[ing] the peace”.

On the radio show that I heard the story on, there was a caller who said she should file assault charges, since he touched her without her consent.  He is a certified officer, and has an obligation to uphold the law.  While upholding the law, he is exempt to some degree from assault charges.  He didn’t abuse her, he handcuffed her.  Criminals can’t sue cops for touching them as they are handcuffed, and this case is NO different.

The fact that there was an outcry because of this (although most reaction was in the fireman’s favor) shocks me.  Where is our sense of law and order?  There’s a difference between civil liberties and anarchy, but the two are beginning to become confused in the minds of many Americans.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Jack Kevorkian Lives: the Obscure Congressional Candidate Has Started Campaigning

August 5, 2008

OK, so the title was a little cheesy.  Anyway, this is my next segement in my series on the Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District.  Dr. Jack “Death” Kevorkian had a town hall-type meeting with about 35 people in Birmingham last week.

He started off by saying, “Okay, so what do you want to know?”  He was asked questions about loss of freedoms.  He was asked about the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage companies.

Kevorkian replied to that with a fitting libertarian (although he’s running as an independent) response, “What bailout?  You’re kind of sheep-like.  You’ve all been conditioned to think and act like sheep.”

Another person “asked about a scientist who believes that four countries control the equipment that controls weather and climate” (Free Press).  What kind of people were at that meeting!

Kevorkian later went on to say, “I don’t want to be a congressman.  I only want to serve two years. I’m here to educate and inform the public. … You are enslaved, but you don’t know it.  You don’t want to admit it because you’re walking around free, eating good dinners.  As long as you’re comfortable, you’re controllable.”

Again, a very libertarian (although VERY extreme) stance overall.  I’m not sure why he didn’t run as a Libertarian, whether the party wouldn’t let him, or he just didn’t want any political party connection.

I’ll see if I can get a quote from the campaign on that.

Asked if he is fit to serve, Kevorkian had the following conversation with a FOX 2 reporter:

Reporter: In 2006, one of your petitions to be paroled was that you’re gravely ill.

Kevorkian: At the time I was.

Reporter: Are you fit to serve?

Kevorkian: Well, how do I look?

And here’s the full FOX 2 story:

So, there you have it.  Kevorkian is essentially running a libertarian/limited government involvement, independent campaign.

What effect will Kevorkian have on the general election?  That depends on what he emphasizes and how much money he spends.  He’s sure to get some Democrats who supported euthanasia.  He’s sure to get the libertarian vote, but will that come from Republicans who are sick of Joe Knollenberg, or former Republicans who would’ve voted for Gary Peters?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Still No Smoking Ban In Michigan

December 16, 2007

A smoking ban bill that cleared the Michigan House earlier this week seems to have stalled in the Senate.  The bill would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and other workplaces.

The Democrats tried to send the bill to the Health Policy Committee, where the Republican chair, Dr. Tom George (R-Kalamazoo) supports the ban; instead, the bill was sent to the Government Operations and Reform Committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester).  Dr. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) who also supports the ban, voted to send it to Bishop’s committee in order to respect the Majority Leader’s wishes of sending the bill where he wanted to.

If all 17 Democratic Senators, plus George and Kahn vote for the bill, Lt. Governor Don Cherry could cast the tie-breaking vote for it, and Governor Granholm would be expected to sign it into law.

Here are my thoughts: Do I support THIS ban?  No.  Would I support an initiative brought up by the people?  Yes.  I just don’t see a smoking ban as something the government needs to get into.  If you don’t like smoke, don’t go to a restaurant where there’s smoke.  People argue that with the second hand smoke, “It’s unhealthy for my kids in those restaurants.”  Yeah, well, the food that they’re eating there probably isn’t as healthy as a well-cooked organic meal that you could eat back home either.  On the other side, many people say that it’d be bad for businesses and the economy.  I don’t buy this though (for bars, yes, but for most restaurants, no).  I know quite a few smokers (even most of my extended family) and they can all go out to dinner and not have a cigarette for 2 hours (if you NEED one, then go outside, or get one of those Nico-patch thingies).  As well, last time I checked, McDonald’s and Burger King weren’t going out of business, and you can’t smoke there.

So – I think Michigan should be smoke free, but if it’s so important like people are now complaining that it is, then go out, draft a bill, get the signatures and get it on the November ballot.  THEN I’ll vote for it.

(It should be noted that there are many Senators who don’t think the bill is completely dead yet, but that it would stand a better chance in the Health Policy Committee, so I’ll keep you updated on this story).

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Iowa December 12 Republican Debate

December 12, 2007

Here’s my ratings of the Debate in Iowa today…

  1. Paul – By far the winner in my mind.
  2. Romney – Slipped up at the beginning arguing with Fred, but he let it go, but had a great debate other than that.
  3. Huckabee – A good debate overall.
  4. Tancredo – A good overall debate
  5. McCain – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
  6. Hunter – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
  7. Giuliani – A decent debate; he had some rough patches, but didn’t perform poorly.
  8. Thompson – A good debate, but he didn’t talk much, and continues to make jokes about Romney being an actor.  It got old a few times ago, and it hurt in this format because the moderator did not like being interrupted.
  9. Keyes – Um, he wasn’t getting questions for a while, but he just got annoying.  I agree with his religiosity, but he wouldn’t make a good President.
  10. The moderator – gosh, she was just pointedly mean to Keyes, even though he was frustrating her – all the Dems. watching the debate agreed with me here.  I hope she’s not moderating tomorrow – she was awful.  And then that bit at the end where people laughed and Tancredo got 1 word out and she cut him off – come on!

On to my commentary:

Alan Keyes showed up – good for him!

Financial situation facing our country – both Iowan parties #1 issue: Our nation is facing a tsunami of national debt which is a threat to national security– agree? Rudy Giuliani – reduce spending, reduce taxes (corporate taxes, death tax), where was your #3? (I missed whether he said yes or no, but I’m guessing he said no). Duncan Hunter – China’s becoming our banker – it is a national security risk. Ron Paul – absolutely. “We’re in the midst of a currency crisis.” Spend money at home; change foreign policy. Tom Tancredo – yes. We import oil from people who aren’t friends – and that’s the biggest threat. Fred Thompson – yes – social security plan. We have to spend more on the military. Mitt Romney – the future isn’t bleak “the future is bright.” Make sure we have good jobs, schools, and health care. Didn’t answer question. Mike Huckabee – country has to put food on tables for citizens, fuel itself, and fight for itself. We can’t outsource everything. Yes. John McCain – yes – we’re losing economic strength, and that will lead to losing military strength. Alan Keyes – cut off spigot that funds leaders – abolish income tax – establish fair tax system. That will encourage politicians to stop funding their own stuff.

What should people sacrifice for debt reduction? Giuliani – Federal government has to restrain spending, and leave more money in people’s pockets. What would it require to cut non-military spending 10%? Giuliani – they’ll have to find a way to do it – don’t rely on government. Rely on people to make their own choices. It’s a bold, but American solution. Ron Paul – they shouldn’t have to – America needs to cut its spending – give them freedom and liberty – close overseas bases. Huckabee – do things differently, not less. Kill the snake, don’t treat the snake bites.

Are there programs/situations that you’d be willing to run a deficit to pay for them? Romney – don’t have to. Eliminate the things that aren’t important. We don’t need as many programs/departments as we have right now – a lot aren’t even working. Protecting country/defense, free market are the most important. School choice and better pay for better teachers – these are the most important things. Tancredo – Follow the constitution – it tells the government what to do and not do. We are focused on doing what’s right – protecting the country. Follow the constitution, and do what is right. “The rest is extraneous.” “Don’t ask the government for womb to tomb protection.” Thompson – Yes: Military, security of people, and research and development. Don’t take care of rich people with Medicare – don’t waste money.

Who’s paying more of a fair share of taxes? Keyes – Sacrifice the incumbents, not the citizens. McCain – low income Americans. We have to reform the tax code. Huckabee – “Tax code is irreparably broken.” Make the poor rich if possible – fair tax. Romney – worries about taxes middle class families pay. Thompson – shouldn’t have to worry about taxes – preserve tax cuts of ’01 and ’03. Tancredo – everybody’s paying too much. Fair tax. Paul – inflation tax is the worst part – it effects the middle class. Hunter – IRS uses up too much money and it costs too much to even get taxes prepared– fair tax. Giuliani – “Give death penalty to the death tax.” Should be flatter or a fairer tax.

30 second statements: McCain – devoted life to keeping nation safe. This has given him judgment to have a good strategy in Iraq. He can ask every American to serve. Keep America safe and maintain our greatness. Hunter- national defense. Protect our borders. Finish the border fence in 6 months.

1 in 5 jobs in IA depends on exports to foreign countries, but we manufacture jobs. How do we keep markets open while protecting jobs? Free trade agreements – open markets to Cuba. We close markets because our chief export is our dollar. We have to look at the monetary system. Romney – he’s spent 25 years in private sector – understand why jobs come and go. Invest in technology, education. Get off foreign oil and get on a level playing field with other countries. Huckabee – job migration results because of taxes, regulations, and litigation. “I can’t part the Red Sea, but I can part the red tape.”

Some big trading partners commit human rights violations. Should we alter trade policies with those countries? McCain – no. We should encourage human rights, but not keep our trading policies dependent on human rights. Biggest free trader there is. Subsidies for ethanol.

What specific changes should be made in NAFTA? Giuliani – it should be enforced. He was concerned about it, but now realizes it helps us. “We should think about free trade as something we want to embrace – something we’ve always wanted.” Indian, China are new customers for us. We need a level playing field, but “shouldn’t lose the goal of free trade.” Thompson – free trade and fair trade has been the backbone of the economy. Mexico should take a look at us – “they export more people out of the country than we do.” Enforce the agreements that we’ve got. Other countries put too many restrictions on us. Tancredo – NAFTA killed southern Mexico and they fled to us – it’s been a disaster. There is a lack of sovereignty – Mexican trucks cross our borders freely. Hunter – we now have a massive trade loss – we’ve had it for many years. We pay 15% tariff into Mexico, which they made after NAFTA was passed. “NAFTA is a bad business deal.”

30 second: Paul – “we need more freedom in the country.” “ We have drifted so far from our constitution.” “The constitution is now used to restrain the people.” Have to stop policing the world. Thompson – has always been a common sense conservative – we need to focus on national security and this will require strong leadership.

Is global climate change a serious threat caused by human activity? Thompson – won’t answer it unless he has a minute. Thompson – funny but kinda cocky and stupid by doing that. Shut up people – they’re all freaking talking! Let McCain just talk – ok. McCain – climate change is real – we can adopt green climate and either be wrong and give our kids a clean world, or if we don’t and we’re right – we’ve messed up for our kids. Giuliani – thinks it is happening – we need energy independence. This moderator sucks – don’t interrupt Giuliani when he’s answering. Romney – get off foreign oil – good for economy AND environment. Moderator – SHUT UP – gosh she’s getting annoying! Keyes – All other candidates represent elites – wow, he’s intense. Keyes didn’t answer the question, just went on about how he’s not getting any questions asked to him. OK – he wants to reduce emissions – reduce hot air from politicians. Who just said “Dr. Hill himself” – was that Keyes or somebody else – if it was somebody else, that won’t play good for them.

Something about cattle and flex fuel. Huckabee – we have done no harm if we take better care of the planet and give it to our children – government – we need to reduce energy used by government. There’s no market for alternative energy. Hunter – don’t use mandates – use incentives. Tancredo – doesn’t believe in mandates. Do some research and investment. Mandates never work – just let the market work it out.

30 second statement: Tancredo – we’ve had 45 years of unlimited massive immigration – no assimilation – it’s now a catastrophe. We’ve come to where Teddy Roosevelt warned of. Can’t trust government’s judgment – they got us in this mess. Huckabee – don’t represent the elite, but the ordinary. Remember that politicians work for the people, not the elite. Keep the country safe.

We are 16th place for literacy at age 15. How do we improve standards? Timetable? McCain – we need more choice and competition. We need vouchers and homeschooling. “Reward good teachers and find bad teachers another line of work.” Great work being done in NYC under Bloomberg in a system that was broken (dig at Giuliani?). Giuliani – here because of the educational choices his parents made. Parents should choose schools their children go to. Our higher education is best in world – where there’s the choice. Hunter – inspire young people – have teachers who inspire people. Take away bureaucracy of teachers – bring exciting people in – aerospace engineers.

Biggest obstacle to education. Do we need to have more standards in education from state to federal (I missed some of the question). Romney – Bush was right in fighting for No Child Left Behind (WHAT!). We need school choice. We need higher pay for better teachers. We need more parental involvement. Huckabee – education is a state issue, not a federal issue. (YES!). Share practices that are working in one state with other states. Federal government CAN do this. Kids drop out because they’re bored, not dumb. Need to develop fun and logical sides of the brain. Paul – ok, nevermind, Keyes – not getting time. The major problem is that we allow God to be driven out of our schools. We need to put God back in – don’t let judges take God out. We have a national creed and it needs to be taught. Stand on a moral education. OK, back to Paul – the federal government – We now doubled the size of our education department. The cost of education went up, but not the quality. We need to encourage homeschooling and private schooling – let parents write that off (as in taxes? I’m not sure). Lessen the bureaucracy. Thompson – the NEA. The NEA goes on TV and misrepresents what’s happening. Inner-city people need to be able to have choices, not just people in suburbs. Stop people from standing in the way of that. Tancredo – Served as something under Reagan for education – we’ve gotten rid of 80% of people in the department – if we went to 0, you wouldn’t notice the difference – the Departement (of Education, I think) is useless – it’s the job of a Governor, NOT a President (directed at Huckabee). Huckabee (rebuttal) – I was a governor – and I had the most impressive education record. Looked at what states did that worked. The President should use his power to implement good practices. 2nd behind Commander in Chief is Communicator in Chief – it’s unacceptable how many people leave schools and President should say that. Romney – I had the best record, not Huckabee. His state’s kids outperform him – OK, that was just making yourself sound stupid. I had the best record – not EVERYTHING has to be about your Mitt, stop being so cocky.

What could you accomplish in your 1st year as President: Giuliani – make sure country is secure against Islamic terrorists. Stop illegal immigration. Tax reduction. Reduce size of federal government. Move toward energy independence. Do things we hadn’t done before/thought were impossible. Hunter – strengthen military – look past Iraq and Afghanistan – look at North Korea and Iran and China. Strengthen border. Bring back industrial base of U.S. Bring back high paying manufacturing jobs. Paul – There’s a limit – end a war – bring troops home. Become diplomatically credible. Even our allies resent what we do – no preemptive war. No threatening Iran – they have no weapons according to our CIA. Bring the home! Major step toward peace. Tancredo – Free Ronald Sancopian (Who?). Something about illegal immigrants. A war is not going on in Iraq – it’s a battle. We are fighting a war against radical Islam – must be willing to say that. Thompson – wouldn’t take him a year – would tell them truth and establish credibility – we don’t know the nature of who we’re facing, we’re bankrupting future generations (just talk?). Romney – I want to do more than talk. Stop global Jihad. End illegal immigration. End growth of federal spending. Reduce tax burden. Get schools on track for global competiveness. Huckabee – none of this will happen until we bring country back together – have to unify country – we’re polarized. Who’s fighting for the country – we just fight among ourselves. Have to be UNITED people of the UNITED States. McCain – must make the nation safe. Even in cyberspace. Must restore trust and confidence in government. Fix Medicare and pork barrel spending. Fix borders. Trust must be restored first though. Keyes – restore the sovereignty of the country – moral sovereignty. No violations of the constitutional rights of the unborn. We start with the womb first. Actually implement the fair tax proposal. People will then change their spending ways. National border guard – must remain border integrity.

30 second statements: Romney – thank you to Iowa. Iowans are nice – blah blah blah. He’ll improve education and schools, and national security. Vote for me! Keyes – if you want to see change, we have to restore credibility of Republican party – we need to secure border. Can’t restore self government until people become active. BAD moderator – don’t hold grudges against candidates! Giuliani – have to deal with terrorism effectively. We need an optimistic leader. And I missed some of what he said.

Videos and talks about them: Character and leadership: What will you do to make sure that a Giuliani White House won’t have another incident like what happened with the mistresses and expenses? Giuliani – I’ll keep a transparent government and learn from mistakes. I’ve always had one. Mod: Could you have been more open? Giuliani – no – it was done as a bookkeeping practice. It was all very well known and open. Mod: Guarantee open White house? Keyes – don’t say things now that contradict who you were before, like Governor Romney (wow – harsh – he turned to the pro-life side, give him a break!). Use technology. Romney (rebuttal) – had been pro-choice. When the first bill came, I could just not take the life of a child. Ronald Reagan took the same course – I am now pro-life (GOOD REBUTTAL). Giuliani – (why did you bring him into this?) – personally pro-life, but not the government’s job.

When do you disagree with available intelligence and then what do you do? Thompson – nobody has real confidence in the results they get. The British and Israelis are sometimes helpful to us.

Videos: Huckabee – (religion) faith will define people. McCain – have to balance violating rights and national security when battling radical Islam.

Faith defines you? How would that translate to public policy, in health care and education? Huckabee – treat others as you want to be treated. A person who’s sick shouldn’t be treated differently because they’re in poverty. The second principle is that all of us are equal – and what we do to others is what we do to Christ. Everyone should have opportunities. Education – touch every child, not just a few.

Is it more important to be a fiscal conservative or social conservative? Romney – it’s important to be a conservative – have to pull together both conservative sides. As well as foreign policy/defense conservatives. I’ll draw on those strengths (didn’t answer question). Hunter – repeat question, “I was lost in Governor Romney’s explanation, but it was quite good though.” Both sides are extremely important – don’t send technology to our adversaries.

Video: Romney – we need to follow the constitution. If we want a right, go to the people, don’t have judges legislate new rights or constitutions. Tancredo – 2 sides to people – God-[jumbled] and human-side. Whichever side is stronger will play out more. Thompson – something about real patriotism – I couldn’t hear it.

Something about his website? Tancredo – we can’t leave Iraq. We CAN stop being the police force.

Paul calls himself a revolution – how would you get your agenda through Congress? Paul – the term revolution was coined by my supporters, not me – it IS revolutionary to go back to the constitution. People are free to chose how they live their lives – it’s appealing to left, right, and middle, and WOULD be able to get through Congress.

McCain – known as a Maverick – when should you have compromised your ideals? McCain – can’t think of a time when I should. I’ve joined with the other side of the isle to pass legislation. I’m proud of that and will hold to ideals, but will reach across the aisle.

New Years’ Resolutions. Keyes – resolve to respect that we are created by God. McCain – raise dialogue of discussion and debate, not criticism of character. Huckabee – be careful of what I say because it gets amplified. Mod – this is for your opponent. Huckabee – well, I’d make it for them too. Romney – something about supporting and getting along with each other. Thompson – be a better man. Tancredo – too much laughter. Moderator sucks – Tancredo never even spoke. Paul – read the constitution – don’t disobey the constitution. Hunter – many young people need jobs – buy American goods – may save jobs of neighbors. Giuliani – take a better look at America.

Moderator – out of time – debate tomorrow – hopefully she’s not moderating. Happy Holidays everyone.

Done Summarizing,

Ranting Republican


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