Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally made the decision to evict the OWS protesters from Zuccotti Park last night. His decision, he claims, had to do with public health and safety.
Some time after 6 a.m., New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a written statement that while he supports the First Amendment rights of the protesters, his greater priority is protecting the public’s health and safety, and he took full responsibility for the “final decision to act.”
“Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest but, rather, to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others,” Bloomberg said, noting that for some residents of the area, noise and unsanitary conditions of the Occupy camp had created “an intolerable situation.”
He added: “The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out — but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others — nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here — the First Amendment protects speech — it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.”
Well there is ambiguity (there’s also a right to peaceful assembly although it is arguable the assembly has been peaceful), but note the thing he doesn’t site – property rights. Or at least not directly. He sorta, kinda alludes to it when he talks about the “exclusion of others”. That’s a privately owned park which has been literally taken over by the OWS group and its owners have been denied the ability to make decisions about its use. Why not just say the occupiers (because that’s what they call themselves – perhaps squatters is a better description) have been declared trespassers and removed? To easy?
One of the pernicious problems I see all the time when it comes to government officials is their selective enforcement of property rights. It seems to me that once the exclusionary tactics were applied where those who owned the park were excluded from using it as they wish, they had every right in the world to demand the eviction of the protesters.
I obviously don’t know what the company that holds those rights had to say because it seems they weren’t really even given a voice in that sort of decision. On the other hand, had they decided that it was good use of their property and gone along with the OWS protesters, shouldn’t their decision about their property had some weight?
I guess what I’m getting at is that other than a mention here and there, no one knows much about the owners or their druthers.
I’m actually sympathetic with the city’s reasons for clearing the park. I think Bloomberg is exactly right. But my larger point is where are the property owners in all of this. Why aren’t they an integral part of this process?
Property rights have been under assault in this country for some time. The abominable Kelo decision was the cherry on top of the sundae that has all but destroyed those rights. More and more I see government deciding how private property will be used and only enforcing laws on trespassing and the like when it serves their purpose (in this case I imagine that the pressure from those who lived nearby finally got to the point that Bloomberg was forced to act).
The right to private property (and its exclusive use) is a foundational right from which many other rights spring. Like so much in this country, government has moved in on that right and while giving it lip service has intruded to such an extent in its execution that it is arguable if the right can be exercised properly anymore. When that right is subsumed, all of our rights are in jeopardy.
We’ll see how much they’re in jeopardy with the upcoming ObamaCare decision. It will either give us a new lease on our rights or, it may end up being the final nail in their coffin.
The other day, Michelle Bachman said:
“We will always have people in this country through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won’t be able to afford health care,” Bachmann said. “That’s just the way it is. But usually what we have are charitable organizations or hospitals who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can’t afford it.”
That initiated the usual reaction from the left:
Before the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, charities did provide health care to those in need. But to suggest that they can do the same today is to misunderstand the enormity of the health care crisis, as charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand. As the number of uninsured creeps up to 50 million, for any politician to argue that government should outsource the task of keeping Americans healthy to charities is like saying that people should be punished with death if they are unfortunate enough to be poor or are priced out of insurance due to a pre-existing health condition.
And that’s one of the more family friendly reactions.
But let’s look at it. First question, why is it that “charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand?” Any takers?
Is it because there are no established charitable programs in place anymore because government usurped the need for them with Medicare and Medicaid? Perhaps not wholly, but it certainly is one of the reasons. Charities, like any other organization, focus their giving where there is a need. And where no one else, usually, is helping. No need, no priority, no charity.
Secondly, you see the insidious conclusion that “the demand” that would strain the capacity of charities can only be met by … government, of course. Naturally there’s no way to really test that conclusion because government has destroyed the market for charitable health care giving.
So, as usual, government has helped create the problem (lack of charitable institutions focused on providing health care for poor) and now, according to the left, the government is the answer to the problem it created. It may not be something you traditionally consider a market (charitable giving in health care) but there’s no question that government intrusion into the health care market changed the dynamic completely.
And finally the unspoken premise: Health care is a human right. Sorry, but health isn’t even a “human right”. Obviously health care requires the labor of others. It requires their time and the abilities they’ve developed over the years. It is their property to dispose of as they will. But bottom line, health care requires the labor of others in order to fulfill this assumed right.
Clue: To be a right, the right must not violate the rights of others. It cannot take precedence or priority over someone’s right to decide how to use their property – i.e. their developed and marketable abilities. Period. That’s slavery. Here we see another twisting of a word that denotes a condition of freedom and liberty into one that demands virtual slavery from others.
You may or may not agree with Michelle Bachman’s statement. But, in reality it is the way a truly free country should work. Instead we seem to opt for “government is always the answer” (even when it is the entity that created the problem) and coercion is just fine for fulfilling utopian dreams.
Hard to call that “free” isn’t it?
Yes the rabble that calls itself Occupy Wall Street has those that live in the neighborhood of Zuccotti Park less than receptive to them or whatever their still undefined message is:
"They are defecating on our doorsteps," fumed Catherine Hughes, a member of Community Board 1 and a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. "A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids."
See, the rabble demand “rights” but they apparently can’t find it in themselves to respect the rights of others, such as property.
Or the ability to walk down a street without being harassed:
Fed up homeowners said that they’ve been subjected to insults and harassment as they trek to their jobs each morning. "The protesters taunt people who are on their way to work," said James Fernandez, 51, whose apartment overlooks the park.
Or something as simple as keeping the noise in the neighborhood down:
"It’s mostly a noise issue," he said. If people can’t sleep and children can’t sleep because the protesters are banging drums then that’s a problem."
One elderly woman told a protester to stop screaming and was met with an even higher volume. "Get some earplugs!" retorted David Spano. "This is the street. I can say whatever I want! I can’t calm down, I’ve been struggling for 30 years!"
Nothing more ignorant than a man who claims his “rights” preclude any responsibility to anyone else. Most understand that as both selfish and clueless. Respect the rights of others? Hey, this is a “revolution”, he’s been struggling for 30 years and that gives him better “rights”.
At a standing room only Community Board meeting, members of the community voiced their anger, frustration and indignation to board members who essentially agreed. They want something done.
Now comes the fun part for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. These people complaining are voters. They’re the people who put him in office. They want action.
I have to say, the position CA governor Jerry Brown has taken on warrantless cell phone searches is a total abdication of his responsibility to the citizens of California:
California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest.
The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled.
Brown’s excuse for vetoing it?
Brown’s veto message abdicated responsibility for protecting the rights of Californians and ignored calls from civil liberties groups and this publication to sign the bill — saying only that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about. He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest. In his brief message, he also doesn’t say whether it’s a good idea or not.
“The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections,” the governor wrote.
What wonderful reasoning, huh? Jerry Brown would never have had a problem with Plessey v. Ferguson because, you know, the court’s decision would have been viewed by him as “good enough”.
Why not make them decide then while coming down on the side of the citizens who believe that device is something which shouldn’t have open access to government? Why not approve the bill and make the court decide it is wrong and must be repealed. Why not make the court justify such searches? Why not come down on the side of privacy and against the invasion of privacy?
Isn’t that what government is supposed to do – protect the rights of its citizens from unlawful search and seizure? Brown has decided it is up to the citizens to sue to stop such an invasion and not him. So he’s going to side with those who believe that there is no inherent right to privacy when it comes to one’s cell phone and make the citizen’s of California seek protection in the courts.
Total abdication of responsibility by an elected official – something that has become more and more commonplace even though, in most cases, not as blatant. This is an assault on the 4th Amendment and it is being aided and abetted by a sitting governor.
Radley Balko notes the abdication as well and references something one of his commenters pointed out:
Cell phones are also not simple “containers” to the extent that modern phones show both local data and vastly more data information stored in cloud services, often all integrated together seamlessly to the user. These law enforcement searches are actually retrieving information stored in “containers” elsewhere.
In other words, this gives them instant access to data for which they’d otherwise have to get a warrant. It allows police to go far beyond searching just the device itself. It allows them access to records and data far removed from where the search is taking place without a warrant.
Now, you tell me: how difficult, assuming probable cause exists, would it be for the police to hold the device, submit probable cause to a judge and obtain a warrant without losing any of the expected “evidence” the phone would provide?
And, how many of you believe, given this abdication by Brown, that police won’t take advantage of and use “traffic stops” to seized and search cell phones of those they suspect of other crimes?
Yeah, they’d never do that.
Isn’t it the job of a governor to err on the side of the citizen’s rights?
Governor Brown should be ashamed – mortified – at the abdication of his role as protector of the people of his state. And the people of his state should do what is right and make sure that when the time comes, he’s given his walking papers.
The left’s operating concept for government can be found in the words of Valarie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior advisor. In her words are the very reasons why the left mostly fails when it comes to very basic things like job creation and relieving unemployment. It is all to be found in the way they envision the role of government. They don’t see government as an enabler – a role it does and should play – but instead as a provider. And that was never a part of the vision of our founders.
This is what Jarrett said to a lay Episcopal group in Washington D.C. on September 21, 2011 about the Obama jobs bill and the role of government.
JARRETT: He has a vision for our country, and I think his America Jobs Act’s a very positive signal about what we could do instantly to create some jobs because we know that’s the backbone of our community. We have to give people a livelihood so that they can provide for their families.
JARRETT: And its a vision, I think his is a moral vision, it’s a deeply it’s a vision based based very deeply in values. And taking care of the least of these, and making sure that we are creating a country that is a country for everybody not just for the very very wealthy. We are working hard to lift people out of poverty and give them a better life, and a footing, and that’s what government is suppose to do.
JARRETT: What he has said is that he is not willing to balance our budget on backs of the least of these, those who are most vulnerable those who depend so steeply on the safety net programs that our country….that is like a rock and foundation of our country. He says I am not willing to [inaudible] Medicare [inaudible], I’m not willing to hurt Social Security, I am not willing to make those choices while the very wealthy and the corporations and the most profitable are not paying their fair share.
There are many things to talk about in those three paragraphs. The first, of course, is no government program will “instantly create some jobs”. At least not in the sense of permanent jobs. Oh it may be able to gin up some make work jobs – eventually. But those aren’t the productive permanent private economy jobs that we so desperately need. Government jobs are rarely productive economy building jobs. They’re also rarely permanent. Creating a few hundred thousand temporary construction jobs weather stripping schools is not going to pull us out of the economic crisis. And most likely those jobs will end up costing more than they’re worth and doing little to address the real fundamental problems the economy faces.
But the real problem here is one of philosophy. The line that bothers me most is the one which ends with “that’s what government is supposed to do”. No. It’s not what government is supposed to do. Or at least that wasn’t the design laid out in the Constitution of the United States. What was laid out there was a mechanism to enable private individuals to do those things necessary to improve their lives and productivity without using force or fraud to do it. What Jarret is pushing the left’s vision of government’s role.
Government, as created by the founders, is there to enable and protect. But it isn’t there to “do” what is claimed by Jarrett. Because the founders knew that in order to “do” what Jarrett claims it would need much broader and intrusive powers. And they knew that a government with broad and intrusive powers would continue to grant itself even more broad and intrusive powers while the citizens of the country were slowly bled of their power and rights. Look around you – that’s precisely what has happened.
As brutal is this may sound, the beginning of this decline in freedom began with the institution of public safety nets and the dependency on government they brought. Callus? No, truthful. Once a dependent class was created and justified (and could be relied upon to vote for the continuation of the welfare state), the current situation was assured – it wasn’t a matter of “if” we’d eventually find ourselves in the plight we find ourselves now, but “when”.
When is now. Government dependency, which has precipitated its continued growth, has put us in the position of ruin. Those who’ve whole heartedly helped us on the way and buy into this charade completely are now trying to sell the myth that our dire shape isn’t because of their well-intentioned but ruinous profligacy in the name of social justice, but the very wealthy and corporations – the very engine that has allowed them to keep this model alive for as long as they have – is the problem. They’re not paying their “fair share”. And the implication, of course, is if they would, all would be sunshine and roses. That it is, in fact, because of them, and not the unsustainable welfare state these people have built, that we’re on the edge of the cliff.
Of course any rational person who has taken the time to look into what our politicians have done over the years and how unsustainable it is knows better than to buy into this line of pure and unadulterated nonsense.
Yet the shills and snake oil salesmen still push the myth and try to shift the blame to keep the belief that this situation is viable if only those filthy rich and corporations would finally pay their “fair share”.
It is personally frustrating for me to see people like Jarrett talk about “moral visions” when what she is pushing is a deeply immoral concept.
Their model has failed the world over in many, many forms, caused true misery and yet there are true believers who simply refuse to accept that reality and feel the only reason that it hasn’t worked yet is because they weren’t in charge.
And when they finally do get their chance, this is the inevitable result.
Do we have a moral obligation to help others less fortunate than ourselves? That’s for each of us to decide, not some nameless, faceless bureaucrat or leviathan government. Should we provide for them? Again, that’s something we should decide and if we decide to do so, find a means of doing it. But should government be in the business of redistributing the income of some to others. I find nothing “moral” about that and, in fact, find it to be very immoral, because it eliminates my choice, overrides my priorities and essentially promises violence from the state if I don’t comply.
That is neither freedom or liberty. And last time I checked, those were the concepts this nation was founded upon.
Imagine living in a place where the authorities can record everything you say or do without your consent, however if you do the same – for your own protection – that’s a felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Sound like a place you’d want to live?
In fact, that’s precisely the case in Illinois. Watch this illuminating 15 minute video. If it doesn’t make you furious, then you simply don’t care about your Constitutionally guaranteed rights. And you’re perfectly fine with the creeping fascism that seems to be infecting parts of our country:
Recording conversations and events pertinent to your legal situation, standing and rights, especially when dealing with public officials in their official capacity, should not be in question. Ever. Wanting a record makes perfect sense and, as you might imagine, has a tendency to keep conversations and actions in line with the law and on a much more polite and civil level.
Most importantly, it is something you must have every a right to do. Why is it they get a legal right to privacy (i.e. can deny consent) when the citizen doesn’t enjoy the same right? That’s not how I understand the purpose of the Constitution and the rights it guarantees the citizens. It is government it prohibits from violating the rights of citizens not the other way around.
I can certainly understand the law saying one must inform a public official that he or she is being recorded (a simple, “hey, I’m recording this” would suffice), but beyond that, I see no requirement that they give obtain consent for that recording to continue, especially while the public official is acting within their official capacity and executing the duties of their office.
What this gentleman is going through is simply an exercise in raw power designed to intimidate. Obviously the law needs to be changed and changed expeditiously. But if that doesn’t happen – and it appears it won’t – his best chance is a jury trial. Most people with any sense are going to reject the government’s case as overbearing, a violation of a citizen’s rights and just plain old un-American. And as you can see in the video, any attempt to solicit information about the case from public officials was ignored. That should tell you a lot about how confident they are about the case.
Bottom line: This is an example of the creeping fascism that is infecting our country. This is “let me see your papers” territory. And it needs to be firmly and swiftly nipped in the bud.
It is a battle between a business’s best interests and about its fundamental right to make decisions about how it conducts its business and the government’s "right" to interfere and dictate how and where it will do its business.
In what may be the strongest signal yet of the new pro-labor orientation of the National Labor Relations Board under President Obama, the agency filed a complaint Wednesday seeking to force Boeing to bring an airplane production line back to its unionized facilities in Washington State instead of moving the work to a nonunion plant in South Carolina.
One of the reasons the South has thrived while the Rust Belt has, well, rusted, is companies have taken advantage of the “right to work” rules in most Southern states to locate there without fear of work stoppages at every turn. That would seem to be a fundamental right that any business should enjoy, the right to locate their business where they feel their best interests are served. What the government is saying is that’s not true – if you have union employees elsewhere.
In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes. The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said it was illegal for companies to take actions in retaliation against workers for exercising the right to strike.
First, it’s not “retaliation” if the facts in the story are correct. Boeing has hired 2,000 more employees – union employees – at the Washington state plant since the decision was made to add a second assembly line and do it in South Carolina. So A) it’s not taking jobs away and B) the additional jobs since the decision hardly speak of “retaliation” in any sense a rational person would be able to discern.
Second, the “complaint” comes as the plant in South Carolina nears completion and 1,000 workers have been hired there.
So, given those facts, this is a crap statement (that’s technical talk):
In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Solomon said: “A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act. We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.”
This is the usual duplicitous talk you get from this administration – acknowledge the right of the employer to make business decisions based on their economic decisions and then immediately deny what was just acknowledged. This too is crap":
“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said the union’s vice president, Rich Michalski.
No, they haven’t sent such a message. What they’ve said is they have a backlog of orders and can’t afford (business interest) work stoppages every 3 years while unions negotiate a new contract. That is a legitimate concern. And they want some sort of continuity built into the productions system that accounts for that probability. No one is denying union workers their “rights” in Washington nor have any union employees been fired because of them – again, since the decision to locate in SC was made, 2,000 additional union employees have been hired there.
What’s is happening here is government has chosen to take sides and is attempting to intimidate Boeing. The side it has picked – surprise – is the union side. And it plans to use its power to attempt to force a company into doing something which is not in its best business interests, despite the lip service Solomon gives that “right”. But there’s no “hostile business climate” here, is there?
The company also said it had decided to expand in South Carolina in part to protect business continuity and to reduce the damage to its finances and reputation from future work stoppages.
And in a free country, Boeing would have every right to expect to be able to do that without interference.
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As Republicans and Democrats jockey for political position in the upcoming budget fights, entitlements should loom large as programs that must be addressed and addressed quickly.
Instead, as we see so many times, the tendency to avoid the problem – to kick the can down the road- often becomes the chosen path. Majority Leader Reid, for instance, has made it clear he doesn’t want to deal with Social Security at this time.
But, as we watch the deficit grow and debt pile up to unprecedented levels, most of us have come to realize there isn’t anymore road down which we can kick the can. We’re at a dead end. And the problem with entitlements still persists and has gotten worse.
Which brings me to the cite “elephant in the room” pertaining to entitlements. Note the word – entitlement. It connotes something which is owed without exception or change, something which is sacrosanct, something which can’t and shouldn’t be touched.
But Sal Bommarito at PolicyMic points out something which, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, we should all realize:
Abrogation of existing entitlements is an arduous process as the roar of liberal lawmakers and civic leaders is much louder than the proponents of the fiscal conservatism side. Often, a sense of entitlement can overwhelm such debates. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that an entitlement is only valid so long as it earns the approval of the people. Changing economic prospects could increase or decrease our nation’s propensity to be altruistic. In essence, entitlements are “people-given,” not “God-given”.
There is no “right” to “people-given” entitlements. They are a privilege we choose to bestow when we can afford it.
Some will argue, rightly, that not all of the entitlements are bestowed. That in fact, by legal mandate, we’re required to send Washington a portion of our income they demand for programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
But in reality, while that argument is valid, it isn’t valid for spending above and beyond what the programs take in. The fact that government has badly mismanaged programs into which we’re legally obligated to pay doesn’t mean the programs should be left untouched. Bommarito then addresses the elephant in the room, the argument those wanting entitlement reform to bring those programs to an affordable and sustainable level (or, elimination) should cite each and every time the subject is raised:
The legitimacy of the programs should not be based upon emotional responses to poverty — by Congress, society, and/or the media. If our government has the economic wherewithal, the effective transfer of money to those less fortunate should be law. However, the financial stability of our country is paramount even if this has become harder to achieve in recent years. And so, Congress and the president may have to rescind entitlements in response to bad times even if the beneficiaries will suffer greater hardships.
The absolute and primary priority for our national government should and must be the “financial stability of our country” – period. That priority should never be held hostage to emotional appeals about the result of cutting or changing programs we obviously can’t afford. We should never allow unsustainable spending on entitlements to threaten that top priority.
And of course the end state of 2 courses of action tell you why that priority should be paramount as Bommarito states. Course A – do nothing. We essentially bankrupt the nation with continued unsustainable spending and entitlements become null and void anyway. Course B – we address the problem head on and do what is necessary to make entitlements viable and sustainable. Some entitlements remain in force, even if at a lesser extent than before and we preserve the fiscal stability of the country.
President Obama, in his speech addressing the budget last week, essentially said we could have our cake and eat it too. He declared that the other side’s claim that we couldn’t “afford” much of the welfare state was just pessimistic and wrong. And of course, he then put forward a plan that would eventually raise taxes for everyone to pay for the profligacy of past (and present) government.
Bommarito has stated the primary reason entitlement reform must be a primary concern of the next budget cycle. Why not addressing those programs and doing what is necessary to reform them and make them sustainable or eliminate them is an abrogation of the primary priority for this government. Entitlements are a “people-given” choice which should and must always be secondary to the overall financial stability of our country.
It is time we addressed this elephant in the room properly.
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I don’t know what to say about this goof except in this country, he has every right to do what he’s doing.
I may not like it (I don’t like the “piss Christ” or Westboro Baptist Church either), I may not support it, I may see it as unnecessary and inflammatory to some, but then the same can be said of my other two examples as well. His activities provide no more of a provocation than do the examples.
One of the tough things about rights and freedoms is they also apply to actions we don’t like (as long as they don’t violate any caveats to those rights).
Many here would like to liken this yahoo’s conduct to shouting fire in a crowded theater. I don’t buy it. Shouting fire in a crowded theater can cause panic and irrational behavior by people in the theater because of lack of information and fear for one’s life. It is an immediate response to an immediate action. Panic ensues, people rush to limited exits all at one time and some get crushed or trampled. It can cause immediate death and injury.
There’s no such parallel in this this story as far as I can see. Trust me, I’m not at all pleased by the deaths of UN workers in Afghanistan, but it was at the hands of a mob that was whipped up there (not by the act in FL at the time it occurred) and chose – important word – to react murderously. That’s right, they chose to attack people who had absolutely nothing to do with the event in Florida well after the deed was done.
Others want to invoke “fighting words” as a reason to shut Terry Jones down. Uh, no. The only “fighting words” I can imagine came from whomever it was in Afghanistan that whipped that crowd into its murderous frenzy. My guess is most in the crowd had never before heard of Terry Jones or his deed until that day. And my guess is the incitement took place in a mosque.
Don’t mistake this for a defense of Terry Jones. I think he’s a waste of protoplasm. And I think what he is doing adds nothing positive to the world around us. But –and again, this is the hard part – he has every right to do it.
I’ll continue to denounce him and would be glad to tell him to his face that his actions are harmful to both people and the cause he supposedly represents – Christianity.
I doubt he’d listen. Zealots never do. But as long as he confines himself to the activities he has so far, it’s his right as an American to continue to do them despite how others in the world choose to react to them.
UPDATE: Figures (debt, deficit, out of control spending, over regulation, ObamaCare – all taken care of I suppose):
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Sunday that some members of Congress were considering some kind of action in response to the Florida Quran burning that sparked a murderous riot at a United Nations complex in Afghanistan and other mayhem.
"Ten to 20 people have been killed," Reid said on "Face the Nation," but refused to say flat-out that the Senate would pass a resolution condemning pastor Terry Jones.
"We’ll take a look at this of course…as to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know," he added.
Here, Harry, let me help you out:
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.
The first five words (the fourth one in particular) are all Congress needs to know about this.
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Well, of course anything can be declared a “civil right”. All it takes is using the force of government via law or bureaucratic fiat (FCC imposes new rules on internet) to make something into that. But any basic understanding of the word “right” does not include something which depends on the labor, money, services or assets of a 2nd party for its fulfillment. Health care is not a “right”, civil or otherwise, because in order to fulfill it, one must coerce a 2nd party provider to give the services necessary whether they want to or not.
So is the internet a “civil right”? Depends on who you ask – for the entitlement crowd, the answer is “yes”:
"Broadband is becoming a basic necessity," civil-rights activist Benjamin Hooks added. And earlier this month, fellow FCC panelist Mignon Clyburn, daughter of Congressional Black Caucus leader and No. 3 House Democrat James Clyburn of South Carolina, declared that free (read: taxpayer-subsidized) access to the Internet is not only a civil right for every "nappy-headed child" in America, but is essential to their self-esteem. Every minority child, she said, "deserves to be not only connected, but to be proud of who he or she is."
Heck, the same argument could be made for any number of things – a cell phone, for instance. Any number of people I’m sure would argue that a cell phone and unlimited access to a cellular phone network has become a “basic necessity”. Of course we’re sliding down that slippery slope at an amazing rate of speed.
And if internet access is a “basic need”, a “civil right”, what about the tools necessary to access it? An account with an internet provider and a computer? Software? Michelle Malkin remarks:
Face it: A high-speed connection is no more an essential civil right than 3G cell phone service or a Netflix account. Increasing competition and restoring academic excellence in abysmal public schools is far more of an imperative to minority children than handing them iPads. Once again, Democrats are using children as human shields to provide useful cover for not so noble political goals.
And, of course that “not so noble political goal” is more government control which, of course, translates into more power accrued and more control of every aspect of your life. Malkin again:
For progressives who cloak their ambitions in the mantle of "fairness," it’s all about control. It’s always about control.
Precisely – and they’ll use any trick in the book to enlarge it. And cloaking it in the guise of a “civil right” simply points out, again, how blatantly transparent they’ve gotten in their quest. This isn’t about “rights” – this is about power and intrusion.
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