Thursday, March 29, 2012
It is truly staggering that not even one Democrat could support Obama's budget. Could President Obama really be too far to the left for even the entire Democrat delegation?
Friday, March 23, 2012
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Over the last 4 years, some people have question whether Barack Obama was actually born in the United States and thus eligible to run. Now, with people speculating that Mitt Romney may select Marco Rubio as his running mate, some people are questioning whether he is eligible to be Vice-President.
The 12th Amendment of the Constitution places the same restrictions on the VP as President, i.e. he or she must be a "natural born citizen".
In the case of the President, claims were made that he was born in Kenya. We have all heard arguments about the authenticity of his long form birth certificate and so forth. In the case of Marco Rubio, the allegations are a little different. Marco Rubio was born in 1971 in Miami, Florida. His parents were Cuban citizens and became American citizens in 1975. The argument offered is that a person cannot be a "natural born citizen" unless his or her parents were U.S. citizens.
I do not intend to discuss the situation with President Obama because the basic facts are in dispute, i.e. was he born in Kenya or the United States. In the case of Senator Rubio, the facts are clear and undisputed.
The Constitution does not defined "natural born citizen". We must thus look to case law and commentary from the founders.
Interestingly enough, the prime case is from New York. In Lynch v. Clarke, which dealt with a New York law that only a U.S. citizen could inherit real estate, the plaintiff had been born in New York while her parents, both British, were briefly visiting the country. They were not American citizens.
The New York Chancery Court determined that, under common law and prevailing statutes, she was a citizen by birth notwithstanding her parents' foreign citizenship. The court actually cited the Constitutional provision opining, "Suppose a person should be elected president who was native born, but of alien parents; could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the Constitution? I think not. The position would be decisive in his favor, that by the rule of the common law, in force when the Constitution was adopted, he is a citizen.
The Court further wrote, "And further: Upon principle, therefore, I can entertain no doubt, but that by the law of the United States, every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States, whatever the situation of his parents, is a natural born citizen. It is surprising that there has been no judicial decision upon this question."
The Lynch case was also cited by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which held that a child born in the United States of two Chinese parents was a citizen and actually used the phrase "natural born".
In 2009, the Congressional Research Service offered an opinion that the most logical inferences would indicate that the phrase "natural born Citizen" would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship by or at birth.
Based on this, it seems clear to me that the citizenship of a child's parents is not relevant if the child is born within the United States. A child so born is a natural born citizen. As such, Marco Rubio is a natural born citizen and is eligible to the the "Veep".
For those who may ask, I believe President Obama is a natural born citizen in light of his long form birth certificate showing his birth on Hawaii. I know some contend it is a forgery, but the burden of proving that is upon a challenger. The courts would almost certainly accept the birth certificate as legitimate unless provided with substantial evidence to the contrary.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
A middle school teacher at Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County, Virginia recently forced his students to support President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by conducting opposition research in class against the Republican presidential candidates. The 8th grade students were required to seek out the vulnerabilities of Republican Presidential candidates and forward them to the Obama campaign.
"Liberty teacher Michael Denman, who declined to comment, unveiled the assignment in mid-January when he broke the Civics Honor’s class into four groups, one for each Republican candidate. The students were then to collaborate as a group and research the backgrounds of their assigned candidate."
“ 'I was shocked that a school teacher would so blatantly politicize the curriculum of a middle school classroom,' a parent said. 'I asked [my child] if a similar assignment had been handed out to examine the background and positions of President Obama to see if the teacher was at least being bipartisan.'
No similar assignment was given to research Obama’s history, identify his weaknesses or pass them along to the Republican candidates."
In this case, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, fell victim to the EPA's abusive and overbearing practices. The Sackett family sought to build a house on its half-acre of land, yet after construction broke ground, the EPA interfered, claiming the family violated the Clean Water Act by placing fill materials into “wetlands.” Their property was designated as a wetland, yet their neighbors have built houses on either side of their lot and their lot already has established sewage lines. Their lot does not harbor a lake, pond or stream, yet the EPA is requiring them to obtain a building permit that would cost more than the value of their land. The Sacketts proceeded by filing suit, but the request was dismissed by a federal judge.
Basically, the couple complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order and did not know why the EPA concluded there are wetlands on their lot, which is surrounded by a residential neighborhood with sewer lines and homes.
When the Sacketts sought to challenge the compliance order, they were told by EPA officials and later by a federal judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that they had no right to a hearing. Instead, they were told to comply with the order first and then seek a permit to resume building. They were not entitled to a hearing until the agency had imposed a fine on them and decided to allow review. The EPA claimed to the Supreme Court that they acted under the Clean Water Act, and insisted that the couple could not sue to challenge the order and had to wait for court review at the option of EPA.
Imagine that. The EPA decided they could force their will upon American citizens without a hearing or due process of law!!
The United States Supreme Court thankfully overruled the Circuit Court. Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice Scalia opined that the EPA cannot impose fines that could be as much as $75,000 a day without giving property owners the ability to challenge its actions in a court of law.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Alito offered a thorough and compelling statement:
"The position taken in this case by the Federal Government—a position that the Court now squarely rejects—would have put the property rights of ordinary Americans entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) employees.
The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear.Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the Act, and according to the Federal Government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency’s mercy. The EPA may issue a compliance order demanding that the owners cease construction, engage in expensive remedial measures, and abandon any use of the property. If the owners do not do the EPA’s bidding, they may be fined up to $75,000 per day ($37,500 for violating the Act and another $37,500 for violating the compliance order). And if the owners want their day in court to show that their lot does not include covered wetlands, well, as a practical matter, that is just too bad. Until the EPA sues them, they are blocked from access to the courts, and the EPA may wait as long as it wants before deciding to sue. By that time, the potential fines may easily have reached the millions.
In a nation that values due process, not to mention private property, such treatment is unthinkable."
This is a big victory for freedom. The EPA needs to be reigned in and freedom must be protected. However, though the decision was unanimous, there is caused for concern. Justice Ginsberg issued a concurrence. She wrote:
"The Court holds that the Sacketts may immediately litigate their jurisdictional challenge in federal court. I agree, for the Agency has ruled definitively on that question. Whether the Sacketts could challenge not only the EPA’s authority to regulate their land under the Clean Water Act, but also, at this pre-enforcement stage, the terms and conditions of the compliance order, is a question today’s opinion does not reach out to resolve. Not raised by the Sacketts here, the question remains open for another day and case. On that understanding, I join the Court’s opinion."
This is disturbing. Justice Ginsberg agrees that the Sacketts may litigate the question of jurisdiction. She does not appear to agree, however, that they can legally challenge the authority of the EPA in court. On that issue, Justice Ginsberg seems to opine that the Sacketts would have to wait for court review at the option of the EPA. That a Justice of the Supreme Court would so rule should be disturbing to all lovers of freedom.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Here is the official explanation from Alderman Tom Hoffay, the majority leader.
"At Tuesday’s meeting of the Kingston Laws and Rules Committee, however, Common Council Majority Leader Thomas Hoffay said the matter should be shifted to the council’s Finance/Economic Development Committee. Hoffay, D-Ward 2, who chairs that committee, said that because the agreement would have a financial impact on city taxpayers, it should be reviewed by his committee."
This is hogwash. The Finance Committee must be involved if the proposal requires additional spending of taxpayer money, but not necessarily if money is to be saved. The Alderman-at-Large decided the appropriate committee and it should have been passed.
So, what is the real reason for the delay? The answer involves a little "Inside Baseball". It goes back to the Democrat Primary for Mayor in 2011. Tom Hoffay was the leading force behind the Hayes Clement campaign. As a result, Alderman Hoffay and Mayor Gallo --to put it lightly-- do not like one another.
Consequently, now that Shayne has become Mayor Gallo, we have seen Alderman Hoffay quietly block a few things proposed by the Mayor for seemingly innocuous reasons. Now, Hoffay has temporarily blocked this latest proposal. Kingston taxpayers stand to save about $40,000 while county taxpayers stand to save $15,000.00.
People are largely unaware of the inside baseball within the Common Council. Having served on the body, I can tell you that the real reason things are supported or opposed often have nothing to do with the public comments and are too often personal and frankly silly.
Did I ever play politics on the Council? Sure, I did; however, I never did so in a way that blocked potential savings to the taxpayers. There is a time for political baseball, but never at the expense of the taxpayers.
Monday, March 19, 2012
"Since its creation in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has done more harm than good. EPA regulations cost more than 5 percent of our annual gross domestic product - the equivalent of the costs of defense and homeland security combined. Since EPA regulations have expanded, unemployment in America has increased by 33 percent. This abuse of power by the implementation of regulations infringes upon our basic constitutional rights.
There have been too frequent reports of individual rights being violated by abusive and power-hungry EPA bureaucrats. These regulations have hampered landowners’ ability to manage their private property as they please and have impaired job creation. Americans are suffering from the overreach of regulatory agencies such as the EPA.
In Pennsylvania, take the story of John Pozsgai, an immigrant from Hungary, who worked as a mechanic and eventually saved enough money to purchase the land bordering his home in Morrisville, Pa. This land was an old auto junkyard, and Mr. Pozsgai, taking pride in his home, proceeded to clean up this landfill by removing 7,000 old tires and rusted-out automobiles. However, the EPA did not view this effort as a clean-up but rather a violation of the Clean Water Act. You see, Mr. Pozsgai’s property was a wetland, ambiguously defined by the EPA as any property that has some sort of connection to a wetland. That connection to a wetland was a small drainage ditch located on the edge of his property.
Mr. Pozsgai did not need a permit to dump topsoil on an isolated wetland. However, the Army Corps of Engineers insisted he apply for one. Next, the EPA set up surveillance cameras to capture Mr. Pozsgai filling his land with topsoil. EPA agents then arrested him for “discharging pollutants into waters of the United States.” These “pollutants” consisted of earth, topsoil and sand. The EPA openly admits that no hazardous wastes were involved in the case, yet Mr. Pozsgai was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison and fined $202,000. Mr. Pozsgai spent 1 1/2 years in prison, 1 1/2 in a halfway house, and was under supervised probation for five years. His family went bankrupt and was unable to pay its property taxes on the land.
A similar breach of power can be studied in the case of John Rapanos. Federal officials prosecuted Mr. Rapanos for shoveling dirt around on his property in Bay County, Mich. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers filed charges against Mr. Rapanos for “polluting” the wetlands by leveling the soil on his property. Under the “migratory molecule” rule, the Army Corps claims that any isolated wetland can fall under federal jurisdiction because there is a speculative possibility that a water molecule from one wetland may reach another navigable waterway. In Mr. Rapanos‘ case, the nearest navigable water is roughly 20 miles from his property.
The federal officials had little evidence and U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff threw out the conviction and refused to follow the unjust federal guidelines enforced by the EPA. Unfortunately, Judge Zatkoff was overruled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Mr. Rapanos later appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, yet the court refused to hear his case. He now faces possible jail time.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, also have fallen victim to the EPA’s abusive and overbearing practices. The Sackett family sought to build a house on its half-acre of land, yet after construction broke ground, the EPA interfered, claiming the family violated the Clean Water Act by placing fill materials into “wetlands.” Their property was designated as a wetland, yet their neighbors have built houses on either side of their lot and their lot already has established sewage lines. Their lot does not harbor a lake, pond or stream, yet the EPA is requiring them to obtain a building permit that would cost more than the value of their land. The Sacketts proceeded by filing suit, but the request was dismissed by a federal judge. The Supreme Court is now considering these violations.
The repeated abuse of power by the EPA has been noted across the country, infringing on the lives of all Americans. Property rights were once regarded as fundamental to the protection of liberty, and it is time that legislators restore the value of personal property and do something about governmental overreach.
On Feb. 7, I introduced the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act). This act is designed to increase accountability in the federal regulatory process. By opening the regulatory process to public scrutiny, government agencies will be held accountable by all American citizens. This is a common-sense reform that will increase congressional liability, improve the regulatory process and protect citizens from restrictions being placed on their economic and private practices. The REINS Act ensures that federal agencies cannot destroy jobs, our economy or our way of life by implementing unnecessary regulations. Harmful and abusive regulations must be put to rest.
Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that the size of the federal government must be reduced and with the imposition of such regulatory abuse, it is no wonder why. Americans are being treated as subjects of an administrative state rather than citizens of a free nation. I am certain that the REINS Act will reduce the power of regulatory bureaucrats and place the power in the hands of the people, allowing them to act and operate as they please."
These examples are just a few of many just like it. Personal liberty is under assault. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, I think you will agree that something needs to be done. Our liberty and our freedom are in peril.
First, no Republican has submitted to Congress any bills or proposals banning contraception. Moreover, under title 10, people can obtain contraception free. The objections to the latest Obamacare proposal are based upon conscience and the First Amendment.
Second, it is not just a "Catholic" issue. To prove this point, look at the seven lawsuits that have been filed against this proposal.
Two of the recent lawsuits were filed on behalf of Geneva College, a private college associated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and Louisiana College, a Southern Baptist school. Their suits are based upon arguments that "the mandate’s coercive requirement and lack of a robust religious exemption infringes against First Amendment rights to due process." They also assert that the mandate violates existing federal laws, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The remaining 4 lawsuits from institutions were put forward by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has filed suits against the mandate on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic college in North Carolina, Colorado Christian University, a non-denominational Christian institution, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic television network, and Ave Maria University, a Catholic university.
The seventh and final suit was from an individual. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of a private business owner from Missouri who claims that the HHS contraception mandate is in violation of his First Amendment-protected religious liberties. The lawsuit is the first filed by a private citizen.
So, of the seven suits, only three were filed on behalf of Catholic institutions. This means the majority of the objectors who have filed suit were not.
Finally, let's talk about what these objections are really about. It is not banning contraception and attacking women. It is about constitutional freedoms.
President Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services are, by their actions and orders, attempting to force individuals, churches of various denominations, institutions, and others to pay for services and other items which they consider sinful or morally wrong.
People who believe in abortion are able to have one in the United States. People who want contraception can get it in the United States. There are people, however, who believe that abortion and contraception are morally wrong. They cannot be forced to have an abortion or be forced to use contraception. The question is then should they be forced to pay for it for others? If a person who believes abortion or contraception is wrong, why should they be mandated by the federal government to violate their religious beliefs?
Religious liberty and the rights to practice religion and/or obey one's conscience free from government interference and tyranny is a foundation of constitutional law. Many of the original 13 colonies were founded by religious groups fleeing persecution from the England against their religious beliefs. By order of King Henry VIII, the official church was the Church of England. All those believing otherwise risked persecution, jail, torture, or even death. The United States was formed with the clear constitutional understanding that government was to make no law blocking the Freedom of Religion.
As the Supreme Court has issued decisions on the First Amendment, they have developed a multi-part legal test. First, one looks to whether the law in question is a neutral, generally-applicable law, not one specifically aimed at religious expression.
Second, if said law is neutral in its application, courts then ask two further questions. Does the law's burden on religion serve a "compelling government interest"? Second, is it "narrowly tailored" or the least restrictive means to furthering the government's interest?
This is the constitutional standard for all laws and regulations potentially infringing upon religious liberties. Let us examine the law using this test.
If we assume that the new rule is a neutral regulation (which is perhaps a large assumption), it clearly imposes a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. The new mandate demands that many religious institutions do precisely what their religion forbids them from doing.
The Catholic Church requires that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception." Yet, the mandate demands that Catholic schools, charities, and hospitals must provide their employees with health insurance plans that pay for contraception, sterilization, and even abortion causing drugs. Effectively, this forces Catholics (or anyone who believes similarly) to violate either their conscience and their religion, or federal law.
Now, looking at the second half of the equation, we know that law may substantially burden religious exercise and be constitutional if, and only if, the government can show that the rule is the least restrictive means to accomplishing a compelling government interest.
So, what is the reason for the law? Well, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the purpose is to "provid[ing] women with greater access to contraception." This is not compelling when one knows the facts.
Contraception is readily available for those who want it at the local drug store. Title X allows it to be obtained for no cost. Is acknowledged by the same federal department that birth control is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women. There are no true barriers for women who want birth control.
The Administration's alleged interest in "greater access to contraception" essentially means that it wants to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion drugs free by having someone else pay for it. Whether the third party wants to pay for it or has religious beliefs to the contrary are of no apparent concern to the administration. This is nowhere near to meeting the burden of "compelling".
Finally, if the government interest was found by a court to be "compelling", it cannot be said to be narrowly tailored.
The Obama Administration has not employed the least restrictive means to achieving their end. If the government wants to distribute free birth control, it could do so on the taxpayer's dime and distribute it through federal agencies. Under this approach, no religious organization would be compelled to violate its faith, beliefs, or conscience. It would be far less restrictive than the President's mandate. The reason the President is not doing it this way is because the Congress would not likely pass it, especially since recent polls show a majority opposed to the idea.
Lastly, this entire analysis assumes the law to be neutral. It is not. One of the many provisions of the law provides an exemption for only those employers or religious organizations whose purpose is "the inculcation of religious values."
Sounds great until you realize that this sets up the government as arbiter of which religious organizations or ministries "inculcate religious values". The Supreme Court has not looked kindly on government interference or meddling in such affairs.
In the recent case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the Court dealt with an employment discrimination case that focused on the "ministerial exception" and the First Amendment rights of religious institutions to appoint their own ministers free from government coercion. The opinion of the Chief Justice referred to previous decisions of the Court that have held "that it is impermissible for the government to contradict a church's determination of who can act as its ministers". Additionally, in the concurring opinions, signed by Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kagan (an Obama appointee), it is strongly suggested that religious organizations will continue to enjoy wide latitude in conducting their own affairs and determining for themselves who represents the religion and serves its mission.
The current proposal places the government has the body to decide who is a minister, who speaks for a church or religious institution, and whether an institution's purpose is "the inculcation of religious values."
Ask yourself a question, should the government be telling you whether your religious beliefs are up to snuff? Should some bureaucrat decide if your church or organization has the correct purpose? Clearly, they should not.
This extremely long posting has one purpose. It sets forth the unconstitutionality of the anti-conscience mandate from President Obama and the HHS. The issue is not one of Catholicism or banning contraception or even an assault on women. Those defenses are political nonsense designed to distract people from the truth.
This is an issue of constitutional freedom. Are we a free country or are we once again under the rule of tyranny?
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Now, there is a vacancy within the Republican ranks. City Chairman Tony Sinagra, blamed by many for the 2011 election fiasco, has announced his resignation as City Chairman. There is no word yet on who will replace him on a permanent basis.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Apparently, chanting USA is now racist?!
This political correctness garbage as gone too far and must stop.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Ulster County would be in tact along with Greene, Columbia, Delaware, and Schoharie counties. There would be large portions of Dutchess County and Rensselaer County, with a small portion of Montgomery County, and a sliver of Broome County.
Congressman Gibson would be in our Congressional District.
For a map of the Judge's proposal, go to:
This plan will go into effect unless the Legislature reaches a deal. Expect the Democrats to cave because they do not want to lose 3 Congressman (2 in Long Island and Hinchey).
Saturday, March 3, 2012
It is my understanding that a meeting took place between Quigley and Amedore. Amedore decided to present a "tough" image and had his proxies threaten to destroy Quigley in a primary. Mr. Quigley was apparently less than impressed and certainly not intimidated.
Both Mr. Amedore and Mr. Quigley are strong candidates. A substantial portion of the new district is in the southern half with Ulster as the largest county. Do not be surprised if there is a sudden reconsideration of the district lines changing them so that they end a block or two from Quigley's home, thus leaving him out of the district.
However this matter works out, it would be wise for Senate Republicans to tread lightly. Jim Quigley has never been afraid to stand for what he believes in notwithstanding the odds. He would be a considerable opponent in the Republican Primary and could very well take the Conservative and Independence Party lines away from Mr. Amedore.
The next few weeks could be very interesting.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann will consider the legislative proposals, and some others submitted by good-government groups, as well as testimony at a public hearing. She will develop a plan by March 12th.
If the plan from the Assembly Democrats is approved, Ulster County would be split, with the City of Kingston ending up in District #18 with Nan Hayworth. This would be a largely downstate district.
If the Senate Republican plan is approved, Ulster County again gets split with Kingston going to District #20 with Paul Tonko. This is better than the former, though Ulster County gets split.
The best of the three (in my opinion) is the Assembly Republican plan. Ulster County would remain intact along with all of Greene County, Sullivan County and Rensselaer County, along with 1/2 of Albany County and the northern portion of Dutchess County. We would be part of District 19 with Chris Gibson.
The Assembly Republican plan keeps Ulster County together and has the most geographic logic. It would be a completely upstate district with some urban areas, though mostly rural.
To see the three maps for yourself, go to: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/118344/congressional-plans-differ-in-capital-region-treatment/
Though the title of the article refers to the Capitol Region, it contains the full state maps for all three plans. Keep in mind that other plans will be submitted as well.