Our Nation’s Foundations – Lesson Three: Limited Government and Bill of Rights

Senator Kerry looks at copy of Bill of Rights

by Oletta Branstiter Now that we have laid a solid foundation of Unalienable Rights and Rule of Law, we can start building our government with more detail. But we need to agree on the most important ideas and priorities. These will be ideals or principles that never change. Unchanging Principles Immediately following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a citizen named Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitating, Franklin responded,  “A republic, if you can keep it.” Laws and policies and…

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Colin Kaepernick And Now Marshawn Lynch. Is Patriotism A Pre-Requisite For Professional Sports?

by Richard Cameron This summer, as former San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick was looking for a place to land in the NFL and there were a few signs of interest and some tugs on the line (Baltimore Ravens) but as of yet, no solid interest  – a lot of discussion centered around whether the non-signings had more to do with  Kaepernick’s controversial behavior, kneeling during the National Anthem in San Francisco, or with his arguably sub-par performance on the field. Now, while the pot is still boiling on that debate, along…

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Our Nation’s Foundations – The Constitution Lesson Two: Rule of Law

gavel and block

by Oletta Branstiter Rule of Law Once the bedrock is found, a builder will lay a solid foundation.  Our Founders and Framers of the Constitution called it the Rule of Law.  They were sick and tired of the whims of the selfish and power-hungry King George.   The government of the new United States of America would have laws for everyone to follow- the rich, the poor, the powerful, and the weak.  They insisted on a Constitutional Republic – one that had written laws that guaranteed justice for all. Democracy…

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Our Nation’s Foundations – Lesson One: Bedrock of the Constitution

a stretch of granite bedrock on the Aland Islands

by Oletta Branstiter The representatives of United States citizens take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. We can’t hold them accountable to this oath unless we know Constitutional principles. Abolitionist Wendell Phillips is correctly attributed with the quote: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.” After teaching my Intermediate public school students that they are born with unlimited Liberty, I ask them, “How much liberty would you like to keep?” They all answer enthusiastically, “All of it!”….

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Trump Encourages Law Enforcement To Employ Excessive Force And Unlawful Treatment Of Suspects

Donald Trump speaks before audience of Suffolk County New York police officers

by Richard Cameron Ignoring the Constitution’s provision for due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, Donald Trump gave his seal of approval on violent arrest procedures on the part of law enforcement during a speech given to community college police officers in Brentwood, NY on Long Island. Trump told the audience of police officers that: “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddywagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.  Like when you guys put…

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The First Amendment Is In The Crosshairs Of Trump Worshipping Tea Partiers

by Richard Cameron There exists in our society, a sentiment that desires strongly that dissent be outlawed and the First Amendment be infringed.  It formerly existed mainly on the extreme political fringes of the left and right, but recently has captured some degree of legitimacy among the regulars of both mainstream political parties. Although I suspected that censorship and abridgment of free speech was attractive to the more ardent among Donald Trump’s following – a recent post on Facebook convinced me that this inclination was not only becoming tolerated in…

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Federalism Trumps Nationalism In A Republic – States & Their Representatives Must Retain Sovereignty

Diagram_of_the_Federal_Government_and_American_Union_edit

by Oletta Branstiter Conservatives have been assailing the trend of populism since Donald Trump entered the 2016 election. As the Trump administration continues to reveal more rings in its circus, those who respect the rule of law can’t help but lament that Nationalism  has been substituted for Federalism. This past week included increasingly troubling revelations about the number of previously undisclosed participants in a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer presumably representing the Putin regime. The spectacle of a President throwing cabinet members under the bus made headlines as well. In…

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Trump Followers Take Offense To Declaration Of Independence 140 Characters At A Time

copy of Declaration of Independence with Trump supporters tweet overlay

by Richard Cameron There is no point at which one can assume that they have plumbed the depths of the ignorance, cluelessness and hubris of the rank and file Trump follower. You might think, “all right, it just can’t get any more absurd” – but you would be mistaken. National Public Radio NPR, in celebration of our 241st anniversary of the Declaration Of Independence, posted the entire text on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.  Any reasonable person would applaud the innovation and the tribute. Any reasonable person… I will…

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Federal Judge Blocks California Law Banning Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines

photo collage of Judge Benitez considering High Capacity ammo mag ban and semi-auto handgun photo

by Richard Cameron U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California out of San Diego, has issued a temporary ruling, staying enforcement of a provision of a recent ballot proposition (Prop 63) that outlaws ammunition clips  exceeding a 10 round capacity – commonly referred to as High Capacity magazines. Petitioning the court was  the California Rifle and Pistol Association and San Diego county gun owners, represented by attorneys from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  The suit was filed in late April of…

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Supreme Court’s Review Of Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case Could Lead To More Balanced Governance

visual depictions of strangely constructed congressional districts

by Tony Wyman The U.S. Supreme Court is about to take up a gerrymandering case from Wisconsin that could have an enormous impact on American political elections for decades to come. The case, Gill vs Whitford, is under appeal after a lower court decided Wisconsin’s 2016 redistricting plan constituted an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander” and gave the GOP an unfair advantage in future political races. What is gerrymandering? Wiki defines gerrymandering as, “in the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a…

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