Posts Tagged ‘Freedoms’

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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Michigan House of Representatives Votes 68-32 to Ban Texting While Driving

December 15, 2008

Alright, this is somewhat of an old story, but I really wanted to do a post on it, and I got caught up with exams last week:

On December 4th, the Michigan House of Representatives voted on House Bill 5117, A bill to amend 1949 PA 300, entitled “Michigan vehicle code,” (MCL 257.1 to 257.923) by adding section 602b.

The bill was introduced by Steve Bieda (D-Macomb).  Here’s the original version of the bill:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE, INCLUDING A RADIO

3 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

4 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE ON A HIGHWAY

5 OR STREET IN THIS STATE.

6 (2) A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A

7 CIVIL INFRACTION.

I like this version of the bill.  It’s quick, and to the point.  Frankly, I think the House butchered this bill (although they did add a couple good clauses).

Here’s the version that was passed by the House (along with my commentary):

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE THAT IS LOCATED IN

3 THE PERSON’S HAND OR IN THE PERSON’S LAP, INCLUDING A WIRELESS

4 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

5 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS

6 MOVING ON A HIGHWAY OR STREET IN THIS STATE. AS USED IN THIS

7 SUBSECTION, A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

8 A GLOBAL POSITIONING OR NAVIGATION SYSTEM THAT IS AFFIXED TO THE

9 MOTOR VEHICLE.

I will say that lines 6b-9 were a good addition.

(2) SUBSECTION (1) DOES NOT APPLY 1 TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS

2 USING A DEVICE DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1) TO DO ANY OF THE

3 FOLLOWING:

4 (A) REPORT A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, MEDICAL EMERGENCY, OR SERIOUS

5 ROAD HAZARD.

6 (B) REPORT A SITUATION IN WHICH THE PERSON BELIEVES HIS OR HER

7 PERSONAL SAFETY IS IN JEOPARDY.

8 (C) REPORT OR AVERT THE PERPETRATION OR POTENTIAL PERPETRATION

9 OF A CRIMINAL ACT AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL OR ANOTHER PERSON.

10 (D) CARRY OUT OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A POLICE OFFICER, LAW

11 ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL, MEMBER OF A PAID OR VOLUNTEER FIRE

12 DEPARTMENT, OR OPERATOR OF AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE.

Again, another good provision.

13 (3) ENFORCEMENT OF THIS SECTION BY STATE OR LOCAL LAW

14 ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED ONLY AS A SECONDARY

15 ACTION WHEN THE OPERATOR OF A MOTOR VEHICLE HAS BEEN DETAINED FOR A

16 SUSPECTED VIOLATION OF ANOTHER SECTION OF THIS ACT.

Here’s where they really butchered it in my opinion.  Making this a secondary offense means that in order to give somebody a ticket for texting, they have to have been pulled over for something else.  I have 2 problems with this: 1) It gives cops a motive to pull somebody over for something that they normally wouldn’t pull somebody over for, so that they can give them a ticket for texting; 2) It should be a primary offense.  While driving to work on Southfield Freeway (M-39) I’ve had several encounters with teenage drivers (mostly girls) texting and coming into my lane.  I did have a guy do the same thing the other day, except that was on Fort Street (M-85), but it was in the 35 MPH area, so it wasn’t quite as dangerous.  How permanent this will be is up for debate.  Originally, Michigan’s Click It or Ticket seat belt law was a secondary offense, but that changed pretty quickly.

17 (4) AN INDIVIDUAL WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR

18 A CIVIL INFRACTION.

Same as the original bill.

19 (5) IF A LOCAL UNIT OF GOVERNMENT ADOPTS AN ORDINANCE

20 SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THIS SECTION, THE ORDINANCE SHALL INCLUDE

21 THE SECONDARY ENFORCEMENT PROVISION IN SUBSECTION (3).

Again, another butchering happened here.  Not only do I disagree with the basic premise of subsection (3), but I disagree with subsection (5) based on the fact that it’s the state government sticking its nose into the business of local municipalities.  If I city wants to make  it a primary offense, good for them.  If they want to keep it a secondary offense, that’s fine too (although I disagree with that decision, they’d have that right).  But to take away municipalities’ rights to make this a primary offense is just wrong.

22 (6) POINTS SHALL NOT BE ASSESSED UNDER SECTION 320A FOR A

23 VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

Again, another terrible amendment to the bill.  There’s no reason that people should be texting while driving.  Tack on the additional punishment of points and that will deter people from doing it.

24 Enacting section 1. This amendatory act does not take effect

25 unless House Bill No. 5396 of the 94th Legislature is enacted into

26 law.

Alright, so that’s the bill as passed by the House.  Currently the bill is in the Transportation Committee of the Senate.

I wanted to post a copy of the roll call vote:

Roll Call No. 1003 Yeas—68

Accavitti Dean Johnson Opsommer
Amos Dillon Jones, Rick Pearce
Ball Donigan Jones, Robert Polidori
Bauer Ebli Knollenberg Proos
Bennett Emmons Law, David Rocca
Bieda Espinoza Law, Kathleen Sak
Booher Farrah Leland Schuitmaker
Brown Gaffney Lemmons Scott
Byrnes Gonzales Lindberg Sheltrown
Byrum Green Mayes Simpson
Clack Griffin McDowell Smith, Alma
Clemente Hammel Meadows Smith, Virgil
Condino Hammon Meisner Stahl
Constan Hansen Melton Stakoe
Corriveau Hood Miller Valentine
Coulouris Hopgood Moss Wenke
Cushingberry Horn Nofs Wojno

Nays—32

Acciavatti DeRoche LeBlanc Pastor
Agema Garfield Marleau Pavlov
Angerer Gillard Meekhof Robertson
Brandenburg Hildenbrand Moolenaar Shaffer
Calley Huizenga Moore Sheen
Casperson Hune Nitz Spade
Caswell Jackson Palmer Steil
Caul Lahti Palsrok Walker

In The Chair: Sak

So, it’s pretty apparent that the vote fell mainly along party lines, but there were definitely a good amount of cross-overs (6 Democrats and 21 Republicans).

Representative Caul (R-Isabella) told CM-Life  reporters that he voted against the bill because it was “overstepping the government’s role. … In this case, it’s difficult for enforceability, whether it’s someone using a cell phone or eating a cheeseburger.”

I’m an advocate for personal freedoms (I voted for Proposal 1), but I think allowing texting while driving  goes too far.  Ban it, and enforce that ban.  Hopefully this will pass the Republican-controlled Senate, and with as much Republican support as  this got, I think it will.  I’ve been advocating for a bill like this for a long time, so I’m glad that it’s making some progress.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Effigy of Sarah Palin Hanging by a Noose is Despicable, but Legal

October 28, 2008

I’ve seen some pretty weird Halloween decorations before, but this one probably tops them all.  In West Hollywood, California, Chad Michael Morisette has put up an effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose with John McCain up on the chimeny with flames coming out of it (as well as skeletons and spider webs on other areas of the house).

Well, this made some people very unhappy and even sparked an investigation the FBI as well as the Los Angles Police Department.

The LAPD has determined that this doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime (I don’t remember if the FBI has finished its investigation).

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters, “I’m not defending this; I’m not criticizing it.  It doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime.  Now, if there was a crime against bad taste–.”  When asked about an effigy of Barack Obama, he replied, “That adds a whole other social, historical hate aspect to the display, and that is embedded in the consciousness of the country [but I am not sure that it would be a hate crime].  It would be ill-advised of anybody to speculate on that.”

Morisette claims that it’s  all in fun, saying, “It should be seen as art, and as within the month of October.  It’s Halloween, it’s time to be scary, it’s time to be spooky.”

The Mayor of West Hollywood, Jeffrey Prang, told reporters, “While these residents have the legal right to display Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence–real or perceived.  I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion.”

I agree with the Mayor here.  The point of a hate crime is that it has to threaten violence, or be violence toward a person because of discrimination (and hate crime isn’t a real legal term, but it’s easier to just say “hate crime”.  For the law that defines hate crimes, see U.S. Federal Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13, § 245).  There is no threat of violence here.  Now, if this were done of Obama, I would say the same thing.  If it’s in a Halloween decoration, it’s generally not intended as a violent threat (as the sheriff’s department found in its investigation).  As long as it’s not being done to encourage violence for racist reasons, it’s not a hate crime.

So, I think this was over the line, but it’s still protected as free speech by the First Amendment.

Done Ranting,

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Cop Arresting Cameraman for Filming Peaceful Protest: “I Can Do Whatever I Want”

October 27, 2008

I was looking through some news stories and came across this story from WCBS (CBS 2) in Newark, New Jersey (WCBS is out of New York City).  Watch the video and I’ll have some analysis below:

Whoa!  The most disturbing part of that was the police officer’s comment, “I can do whatever I want” in response to the reporter, Christine Sloan, saying, “You can’t arrest him.”  (I don’t have the officer’s name – if somebody could find it, that’d be awesome!)

After arresting the photographer, Jim Quodomine, the officer even threatened Sloan, saying, “[This is] none of your business.  Stay away or you’ll be sitting in the car.”

Latrice Smith, a witness of the incident, told WCBS, “He went to put the camera down.  Before he had the opportunity to [do so], the police officer came and knocked it down. … [The officer] just started grabbing him, putting handcuffs on him, grabbed him by the neck.  It was out of control for no reason.”

Another witness told WCBS, “I couldn’t believe how they grabbed him.”

Kudos to Councilwoman Mildred Crump for standing up for justice here.  The officer CLEARLY violated the the photographer’s First Amendment rights.  Hopefully the investigation goes through as Crump has demanded and the officer is fired.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative.  I can’t stand  criminals and I love police officers, but this guy clearly overstepped his bounds.  The cameraman was on public property, and thus had a right to videotape whatever he wanted (which is ALSO why it’s legal for the government to videotape YOU in public – it’s not invading your privacy – you’re out in public – just wanted to bring that up really quick).

This cop needs to be fired.

I’m honestly surprised that he still pressed charges against Quodonine for disorderly conduct.  I’m pretty sure that Quodonine will have those charges dismissed by the magisstrate (and if not, he’ll win an appeal).  If I were him, I would be outraged.

Done Ranting,

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Illinois City Bans Trick-or-Treating for Teenagers

October 27, 2008

Well, this is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while.  Belleville, Illinois passed an ordinance last Monday that restricted trick-or-treating.  That sounds normal, right, most cities limit the time that kids can trick-or-treat.  But the city isn’t just limiting when; they’re also limiting who can trick-or-treat.  And it also limits the wearing of masks, to only Halloween (unless you’re under 12).

Here’s an overview of the ordinance (unfortunately, Belleville is a little slow in uploading their meeting minutes, and all they have right now is a copy of the agenda, so this isn’t the exact wording of the ordinance):

  • Limits trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M.
  • Bans anyone in above the 8th grade (anybody older than 13 or 14) from trick-or-treating on Halloween, unless they are a “special-needs” child, and then they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Allows children age 12 and under to wear a mask and/or disguise any day of the year, but restricts anyone above 12 to being able to wear a mask and/or disguise only on Halloween.
  • Prohibits any and all child sex offenders from going to any event and/or holding any event for Halloween where any child (other than his/her own) will be present. Child sex offenders must also turn out their outside lights on Halloween night, and they are banned from handing out candy.

OK, so bullet points 1 and 4 I have no problem with.  It’s 2 and 3 that I have an issue with.

But before I go on, let me give you some quotes that Mayor Mark Eckert told reporters:

We believe that Halloween is for little children.  We just feel that we need to go that extra mile to protect the children.

We were hearing more and more about bigger kids knocking on doors after 9:00 at night and the people who lived in the homes were scared.  The seniors were especially scared.  They didn’t want to be the recipient of some kind of trick, but they didn’t want to open their doors late at night, either.

Sexual predators can’t have parties.  It’s not right, it’s wrong.  They lost that privilege.

OK, so I get the principle behind this, but here’s where you have a problem: Those teenagers out after 9:00 P.M. would be out past the overall curfew anyway, so they’d already be breaking the law.  What is the need for another law here?  If they’re out past 8:30, they can be arrested (I’m assuming that’s the punishment).  So that right there would solve your teenagers out late problem.  Banning trick-or-treating for anybody above the 8thgrade is simply ageism.  You cannot discriminate against somebody like this.  I’ll accept a curfew (although I have problems with those at times too), but to ban outright the practice of trick-or-treating for ANYBODY (other than felons who lose some rights when they’re convicted) is discrimination, and in my view, illegal!

Now, the mask/disguise ordinance.  You’re telling me that a 16-year-old kid can’t wear a mask outside at a Halloween party the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night if you live here in Detroit)?  Or what if a Star Trek convention comes to Belleville?  Are you telling me that masks aren’t allowed?  It’s ridiculous!  Unfortunately, without the ordinance I don’t have the city’s legal definition of “disguise” but would this apply to people dressed up as Santa Clause?  Are you going to haul away the Salvation Army Santa for being in a “disguise” on a day other than Halloween?  It’s dumb.  It restricts the Freedom of Speech (this isn’t a dress code in school we’re talking about here – this is just being out in PUBLIC generally!)!  It’s asinine, ridiculous, and it’s unconstitutional.

I hope somebody old goes out and trick-or treats, or wears a mask the day after Halloween so that this can be taken to court and overturned.  I’m a Law and Order Conservative – I abide by the laws.  I don’t speed.  I don’t drink underage.  I’ve never stolen a candy bar.  But when the law goes against Constitutional principles, it MUST be disobeyed so that it can be challenged in court, and this is one time where I say, “Break that law!”

Done Ranting

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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,

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Central Michigan University Impliments a Ban on Professors Running for Public Office, Including Congressional Candidate Gary Peters

May 19, 2008

This is part 2 in a weekly series on the race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District.  This was supposed to be a post about fundraising, but we’ve had some interesting developments come up in the past week.  Central Michigan University proposed a policy that would go in effect on July 1st, that would require “full-time employees of the university … to either resign or take an unpaid leave of absence when they comply with candidacy filing requirements, 60 days prior to the date set forth for the election relating to the sought-after public office, whichever date is closer to the elections” (source: CM-Life).

The CM-Life reported that this policy was implemented as a result of the Gary Peters issue: “It’s a political year and questions were raised about political candidates (on campus). … That’s when the questions began, in relation to the Gary Peters reaction, but it goes deeper than that.  The university realized the need for a policy.” ~~Steve Smith, Director of Media Relations

There are some exceptions to the new policy:

  • Candidates for unpaid or temporary offices
    • Municipal charter revision commissions
    • Delegate to constitutional conventions
    • Positions on a city or county board where the position is unpaid
  • Candidates for any part-time local offices where the position would not demand work during university-working hours

Smith said that the policy is not final, saying, “We are still waiting on input from the on-campus community.”

Contrary to what I had heard earlier (as I will explain later), the faculty union will be subject to this policy.

Now, I had heard about this policy being in the making back in late April.  I had been told by somebody inside of CMUthat this policy would not apply to faculty who are union members because their contract would have to be reworked through the union, and the union would never let this happen, so instead of fighting with those faculty members, they were just going to leave them exempt.

Dennis Lennox, former Student’s Against Gary Peters spokesman told the  CM-Life, “I think it’s a great proposal that should have been implemented months ago.  This is a victory for students and tax payers who wanted to hold Gary Peters accountable.  It’s a huge vindication.  It’s just unfortunate it took 10 months and a whole host of horrible events for this resolution to occur.”

Now, how does this affect the race for the 9th District?  Well, as I’m sure you all know, Gary Peters obviously falls under this policy.  He will either have to resign or take a leave of absence.

What do I think?  I think the policy is completely stupid, but I think it will stand in court.  From what I’ve seen, since CMU gets federal money, the policy can legally fall as an extension under the Hatch Act of 1939, which has been held up in 2 Supreme Court cases.

Personally, I think this is a violation of free speech.

Ideally, CMU would have a policy that would allow professors to run for office but make sure that no time or resources that belong to CMU are used.

I don’t know if Peters will resign or take a leave of absence, or if he’ll challenge it.  The source that talked to me in late April told me that he/she thought that the ACLU might get involved.  Now that it applies to union faculty members, I think the union will fight back as well, which is a great help for their cause.  They could turn this into quite a battle.  Of course, if they went on strike, I would consider that way over the line and probably add them to my long list of hated unions.

I’ll keep you updated if any more news comes out about the policy.  Next week (maybe), I’ll be talking about fundraising.

Done Ranting,

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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,

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Christians and the Religios Right Voting For Mitt Romney (or Any Other Socially Conservative Non-Christian for That Matter)

December 14, 2007

OK, first, I know that many of you will say that Mormons are Christians.  1. That’s not what I believe.  2. We’re not here to debate this.

What I am here to say is that the Religious Right (who I proudly call myself a member of) needs to snap out of this “I’ll only vote for a TRUE CHRISTIAN!” mentality.  I’ll think about voting for anybody who is pro-life.  If you’re pro-choice, you’re out of consideration for me.  After this I take into effect some other social issues as well as allowances for certain personal freedoms (where my semi-libertarianism kicks in), and lastly economics (I’ll vote for a fiscal liberal before a social liberal any day).

After having many debates with my mother who at first wouldn’t have supported a Mormon (although she’s still a Huckabee person – but hey, I like him too), she found this website: http://www.defendingyourdoorstep.com/Mitt_Romney.htm

I’m just going to highlight his 3 main points, and let you read the rest if you want to (and I’d really encourage you to):

  • There is no risk that a Mormon President will drive people into the Mormon Church.
  • There is no Biblical support for the fear that God will judge our nation if we elect someone to be our President who is not theologically sound.
  • The lives of 4 million innocent Americans should outweigh any concerns we might have regarding the theological failings of our president.

If the Religious Right refuses to vote for Mitt Romney (in the general election, I’ll be fine if they support Huckabee or somebody else in the primary) because of  his religion, I will denounce the movement and disassociate from it, because they have gone from not caring about issues to only caring about religion.  And I doubt that they think that all the Presidents that have claimed to be Christians, meaning that they would have to judge the religiosity of candidates, which is something left up to GOD to do, NOT Christians.

Done Ranting,

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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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