Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 22, 2011


What part of “freedom of assembly” don’t San Juan Capistrano officials understand?

I swear this country gets more and more totalitarian as the days go by.  Try this one on for size:

An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.

That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to PJI.

“We’re just gathering and enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God’s word.” Stephanie Fromm told CBS2.

A) What freaking business is it of  the city’s to begin with?

B) It doesn’t matter if they gather every day.  If it is voluntary, in a private home and they’re not disturbing anyone or violating anyone’s rights, what business is it of the city?

C) Where does the city get off requiring permits to gather at a private residence?

D) In case you missed it in A, what freaking business of the city, especially in light of the 1st Amendment guarantee?

Who someone chooses to peacefully assemble – especially in a private home – is none of the damn city’s business.  Does this make the weekly poker game an event that requires permits.  How about the weekly gathering at the neighbor with the big screen tv to watch football?

This is utter nonsense on a extraordinarily intrusive scale.  It isn’t about what they’re doing (bible study, poker, football) but that the city has taken it upon itself to invent some permitting nonsense that puts them in jeopardy legally.

Absurd – but there it is.

You have to wonder what part of this the folks in city government don’t understand:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Seems pretty clear to me.  And yes, I recognize we’re not talking about Congress here, but this is a right that has since been incorporated so that we all have it and government in general is prohibited from violating these rights.

Says the city:

“The Fromm case further involves regular meetings on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons with up to 50 people, with impacts on the residential neighborhood on street access and parking,” City Attorney Omar Sandoval said.

Oh, I see.  That is all it takes to abrogate the 1st Amendment guarantee.  Temporarily impacting “on street access and parking”.  Yup, inconvenience others and you’re guaranteed rights are kaput.  Gone.  Out the window, or to use today’s favorite phrase, under the bus.

Of course the fact that it is an invented excuse only adds to the nature of the folly:

Neighbors have written letters to the city in support of the Fromms, whom they said have not caused any disturbances with the meetings, according to PJI.

Or, as one can conclude, it’s a naked show of power by the city to exert control in something they have no freaking business being involved.

The little totalitarians are as dangerous as the big ones.  It is from the little ones – who are able to get away with this sort of nonsense – that the big one’s grow.  We need to stomp them out (metaphorically speaking) when they’re small.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


One difference between right and left distilled for all by Debbie Wasserman-Shultz

Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is one of the more entertaining politicians to watch.  Not necessarily because she isn’t the brightest penny in the roll or because she’s the head of the DNC (although both end up factoring in), but because she unwittingly and routinely mouths the platitudes that best exemplify why the left and right are so different.

Last night, while claiming that it is a slam dunk that Jews will vote for Obama (despite NY-9), she was reported to have said:

The Florida Democrat also insisted that the president will have no trouble winning her state – the stage for the Republican primary debate Thursday night – because Floridans understand that the president has fought hard to create jobs and turn the economy around.

Emphasis mine.  That emphasized phrase, to me, underscores something fundamentally different in the way each side thinks.

Trying is nice, but results are what count to most on the right (and most rational Americans).  But Wasserman-Shultz comes from the “hey, he tried and that’s good enough” school of reinforcing failure with feel-good nonsense (designed to get the failure another chance).

Obama tried.  Vote for him again so he can try some more. Nevermind he’s in way over his head.  Nevermind that he’s never been a leader in anything and it shows.   Nevermind that everything he tried has failed and cost you 4 trillion in debt while he was at it.  Nevermind that he refused to listen to the vast majority of you and rammed a costly and atrocious health care bill through and signed it into law.  Nevermind that his promise to hold unemployment under 8% if you gave him a trillion dollars actually saw unemployment hit 10% after it was approved.  Nevermind that he has totally ignored the unemployment problem and when, finally, forced to confront it (there’s an election coming up, you know), offers another spending bill with the same tired programs that failed before.

Nevermind.

He tried.

Re-elect him.

Anyone know what a list of “accomplishments” such as Obama’s would garner any employee at review time?

An invitation to go visit their incompetence on another employer if they can find one that would take them.

Certainly not the bonus of keeping their job, that’s for sure.

The unfortunate thing for the Democrats is most Americans think like the right, not the left, on this issue.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 22 Sep 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Well, this really isn’t a statistic, as such, but the Dow slipped -300+ at the open, on a pessimistic economic outlook for the US and EU, weak data for the euro zone,  and a negative outlook on the US economy from the Federal Reserve. Why the markets are reacting as if any of this is a surprise is beyond me.

Initial claims for unemployment fell -9,000, to a still-unpleasantly-high 423,000. Meanwhile, last weeks claims were revised upward by another 4,000.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to –52.1,  the worst since the recession "ended" in June, 2009. Note the scare quotes around the word "ended".

The Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.3% last month, though mainly on money supply gains as investors bailed out and went to cash. Which actually isn’t a good sign.

The FHFA home price index in July rose 0.8%. That’s the fourth month in a row the index has risen, so not everything is a complete disaster. We take our good news where we can find it, I guess.

~
Dale Franks
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Slight majority now blame Obama for the economy

For the first time, says Gallup, a slight majority of Americans polled put the blame for the shape of the economy on President Obama:

Gallup found a substantially wider gap in public perceptions of how much responsibility Bush and Obama each bore for the economy when it first asked the question in July 2009, the sixth month of Obama’s presidency. That narrowed by March 2010, caused mainly by a jump in the percentage blaming Obama a great deal or moderate amount, and has since changed relatively little. However, the results from a new Sept. 15-18 USA Today/Gallup poll are the first showing a majority of Americans, 53%, assigning significant blame to Obama. Forty-seven percent still say he is "not much" (27%) or "not at all" (20%) to blame.

Key demographic:

Independents blame both presidents about equally: 60% blame Obama a great deal or a moderate amount, and 67% say this about Bush. In 2009, the figures were 37% and 81%, respectively.

Obama has been given ownership, whether he wants it or not.

Here’s the key problem for Barack Obama: George Bush isn’t running for president.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO