Archive for 2010

A rest and work break

Posted by | Filed under Uncategorized | Dec 18, 2010 | 3 Comments

As you may have noticed, I have taken a break from the weekly column. I am catching up on life and working on a new book about my thirty some years in emergency medicine – a collection of stories about life.

But, the column will return, hopefully by February.

Reclaiming the Constitution – Part V

In 1804, the United States Supreme Court claimed absolute control over the Constitution, declaring only it could decide the Constitution’s meaning and neither the president nor Congress could overrule it. More than 100 years later, through sheer intimidation, President Franklin Roosevelt got the Supreme Court to use this control to give Congress powers not in the Constitution.

In 1937, the court changed the meaning of the “general Welfare” clause, allowing Congress to do anything it deemed needed for the “general Welfare.” In 1942, ignoring the meaning and intent of the commerce clause, the Supreme Court ruled that anything an individual or company produces or purchases, even if only sold intrastate or if only for personal use, can be regulated by the federal government because it impacts “commerce among the several states.”

Unlimited power – Part IV

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” – W. C. Fields

Though I hope this quote refers to the following Supreme Court rulings, some might suggest it better refers to my assessment of the rulings.

After giving Congress the power to do whatever it determined was for the “general Welfare of the United States,” the Supreme Court had to wait 5 years for President Franklin Roosevelt’s next constitutional target, the opportunity to give Congress control within the states and control over individuals.

Unlimited power – Part III

Since ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the Supreme Court has found a constitutional answer to every case brought before it. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that a document prepared in the 1700s could address all issues for more than two hundred years? We currently have nine justices, none elected by the people, all appointed to their office for life, who claim absolute control over the United States Constitution. Is this what the founding fathers and the states intended? With their fear of government, why would they give unchecked power to any branch of the federal government?

The beginning of the end – Part II

Three Supreme Court rulings changed our lives, making our Constitution near irrelevant. One gave the Supreme Court unlimited, unchecked power; the other two gave Congress unlimited power.

The first ruling created the concept of judicial review, which is the claimed power by the Supreme Court to have the final voice in all issues concerning the United States Constitution. This power is not granted it in the Constitution; moreover, it is not granted to any branch of the federal government. Why might that be? Why would such a critical power not be assigned to one of the three branches of the federal government?

The path to socialism – Part I

“We do not have socialism. We have regulated capitalism.” – ISJ reader comment

Is that true? Is it all or none? Or is the path to socialism a process so slow that each individual step is logical, masking the eventual outcome and encouraging inattention and indifference until it’s too late? More important, if we are not yet socialist, is our federal government still the limited government the founding fathers created with the United States Constitution?

Does it still respect state’s rights? Does it still respect individual rights and freedoms? Before answering, remember that this past summer the Second Amendment was upheld by only a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court, a constitutionally guaranteed right only one political appointment away from revocation.

Socialism by force

“The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Margaret Thatcher
Former Prime Minister, Great Britain

Failing to learn, our government continues unabated towards socialism, convinced it knows best, the Constitution obviously outdated, the people’s wishes obviously wrong.

In the 1960s, two radical socialist professors from Columbia University, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, created the Cloward/Piven Strategy, first printed in a 1966 issue of The Nation magazine. It should not surprise us that Columbia breeds radicals.

Going home

For several months, I have been spending some time working in an emergency department in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska; a few weeks ago taking a day off and driving 210 miles to the small town where I was born a little over 60 years ago, Holdrege, Nebraska. It was 52 years ago that we moved from Holdrege, and this was my first visit since that move.

Following my brother’s directions, I found the home where I was born and lived in during the first months of my life. I asked the owner if I could see the home and take a few pictures. It was a yellow painted cinder block house of about 500 square feet, little changed from 1950.

Spoiled, dependent, entitled, indentured, enslaved

Are spoiled children born that way? According to British writer Roald Dahl, “Some children are spoiled and it is not their fault, it is their parents.” Spoiled children have parents who give them everything they want instead of teaching them to earn what they want, instead of teaching them responsibility and independence. Quite simply, parents of spoiled children fail to heed the advice of “The Country Parson,” Frank A. Clark, who said, “The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.”

“Things”

In the movie “Parenthood,” the family’s grandmother offered advice to her son who was distraught; he quit his job and his wife was pregnant. Of life she said, “You know, it was just so interesting to me that the roller coaster could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.” Steve Martin looked at her like she was nuts, but was she trying to tell him something important, something that more than 90 years of life taught her?

Is the Arizona law a burden?

Those opposed to Arizona’s illegal alien law praised Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling against it as a victory for immigration rights. Really? What did the Arizona law have to do with immigration rights? Wasn’t it about illegal aliens?

In fact, according to the USA Today, many illegal aliens were so worried about the law that they were preparing to self-deport if it was upheld, proof that enforcing federal law would solve much of the illegal alien problem by promoting self-deportation.

Lead, follow or get out of the way

General George S. Patton said, “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” Mr. President, are you listening? We are nearing the end of the president’s second year in office and, as he promised, things have changed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the question is not if things have changed, but have they improved.

The decision to go to war is political. The decision to end a war is political. But war itself is not. The president is expert at politics; the military is expert at war. The president must balance political realities with military realities. And during peacetime political realities often carry more weight than military ones. But during times of war, if military realities cannot carry more weight than political ones, should we even be at war?

Rape-rape?

Whoopi Goldberg said of producer Roman Polanski and his rape conviction of the 13-year-old girl he drugged and sodomized, “It wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.”

Have our values so deteriorated that we no longer recognize rape? Polanski is a free man, living in Europe where the cultures are more enlightened, progressive, understanding and tolerant than ours, the very words used by our progressives when they demand we accept each new debased definition of right and wrong.

Where are you from?

The other day a friend and I were talking about immigration. He immigrated to the United States, is an American citizen but never refers to himself as a something-American, a hyphenated-American; he is just an American. My great-grandfather emigrated from Prussia in 1852. And like my friend, I don’t consider myself a Prussian-American; I am just an American.

My friend says people occasionally ask him where he is from, the question suggesting to him that they think he is a hyphenated-American with divided loyalties. Perhaps his mild accent or foreign sounding name prompts the question. But might I be asked where I am from if my last name were Gerbeling or if I had a German accent?

Subject or citizen?

“Oh posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it.”
– John Adams, second U.S. president

Sanctuary cities and Arizona

Among the limited powers of the federal government are matters of immigration and border security. However, the government seems unable to carry out these constitutional responsibilities, seemingly incapable of doing what the Constitution mandates.

The federal government has ignored illegal aliens for decades, President’s Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower the only presidents who seriously tried to solve the problem, Hoover during the depression, Truman following World War II and Eisenhower following the Korean War.

Since then, illegal aliens have poured across our southern border, essentially unabated. And as their numbers rose, “sanctuary” cities passed ordinances banning use of municipal funds to support federal immigration laws, in essence aiding and abetting illegal aliens.

Constitutional coup

” . . . the discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny.”

Edward Gibbon, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”

Are we witnessing a non-violent coup of the United States Constitution, methodically carried out by the United States Supreme Court? Has the Court placed itself above the executive and legislative branches of government, above the people, above the Constitution itself?

This coup started in 1803 when the Court claimed the power to rule on the constitutionality of acts of Congress. Claiming this check on Congress seemed appropriate because each of the three branches of government was meant to check the others.

McChrystal, Obama, their values

General McChrystal was publically disrespectful to a superior officer, the President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Graciously, the president allowed him to resign rather than fire him.

But, recall the history of General McChrystal’s command in Afghanistan. The president selected him for this command and defined the mission. To the president’s surprise, the General did his job, assessed the situation and told the president he needed at least 50,000 more troops or the mission would “risk failure,” officials “persuading” him to delay his request and then ask for only 40,000. At the time, there were only 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, General McChrystal needing a near doubling of his troop strength.

‘Misbehavior before the enemy’

The president applauds the latest United Nations sanctions against Iran, saying they are the “toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.” Did he not hear Ahmadinejad describe them as “a used handkerchief that should be thrown in the waste bin?” Did he not hear him call the sanctions “pesky flies?” Is the president the only person in the world who actually believes the UN sanctions are of value?

Does he understand he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and this duty is his primary constitutional responsibility? Does he understand that while he cowers before Iran, Americans die at the hands of Iranian-backed terrorists? Does he understand that his responsibility as commander-in-chief supersedes his world stage political posturing?

Football and government

The federal government could learn a lot from professional football – teams competing with each other, each team doing all it can to win, referees ensuring they follow the rules, together part of a league whose owners have the final say on the rules and how the league works.

Our league is the United States of America and the teams are our free market system, individuals and companies competing with one another, doing all they can to win. The referees are our elected officials, there to ensure the competitors follow the rules. The head referee is our Supreme Court, appointed to maintain the integrity of the rulebook when questions arise. The rulebook is the United States Constitution.

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