Possibly the scariest bit of legislation I've ever seen

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Drew, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    If you don't want to read all of this, here's a Cliff Notes style summary from noodles. :yesway:



    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060720...3Np24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--


    A bill barring federal and supreme courts from hearing cases pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance has just passed the House of Representatives, by a surprisingly wide margin, although it's future in the Senate is significantly more uncertain.

    Sure, on the surface that doesn't sound like much - it's the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America, how bad can it be? However, the issues at play here are actually quite a bit more complex. Essentially, this one comes down to two words in the Pledge, the phrase "under God," and the House attempting to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling that being forced to utter the Pledge when it directly conflicts with your religious beliefs (or lack thereof, in certain instances) is an infringement upon your personal rights as an American citizen. The courts concluded this in 2002, and while it was overturned on a technicality in 2004 it is likely to be reaffirmed the next time the Supreme Court hears a similar case. So, rather than admitting defeat or simply reversing the (i believe) executive order by Eisenhower that first added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge in the 50's to mollify any possible objection to the Pledge, the religious right elements of the GOP are simply trying to change the rules of the game and remove the Pledge from the jurisdiction of the courts.

    Now, for what it's worth, I support the courts' stance here, and my reasons are twofold - that all else equal the role of the federal government is to put policies in place that disenfranchise the fewest number of its' citizens, and that on a strictly artistic level the power of the phrase "One nation indivisible" kicks the crap out of "One nation, under God, indivisible." However, the presence of two words in the Pledge of Allegiance isn't what's at stake here - what we're seeing is tantamount to an act of war upon the system of checks and balances put in place by our Founding Fathers to prevent an abuse on the legislative system. The house and senate are held in check first by the president's ability to veto legislation (provided it isn't then re-passed with a 2/3 majority, which is in turn a check on the executive branch) and second by the judicial branch's ability to review cases questioning the constitutionality of laws passed by the executive and legislative branches. This attempt to limit the ability of the judicial branch is something that we've seen for essentially the entire Bush administration, first in his use of terms like "activist judges" suggesting that they are abusing their powers to overhear cases to create legislation (which is blatantly absurd, as they only hear cases that come to them and then they can overturn or uphold existing legislation but not actually create new laws), then by the GOP's threatening to use the "nuclear option" as it's been labeled to allow justices to be confirmed by a simple majority by banning fillibusters on judicial nominations, effectively giving control of the judicial branch to the majority party in the legislative, and finally with this, actual legislation attempting to limit their scope. Not to be sensationalist or anything, but this is essentially a frst step towards a totalitarian state.

    The good news here is that it's unlikely to pass in the Senate, and even if it does there's no way in hell it will be upheld if the supreme court is presented with a case questioning it's constitutionality (because, frankly, it IS an attack on the constitution), which the American Civil Liberties Union will undoubtably do. However, the fact that legislation like this could even pass in the House absolutely boggles my mind - I'm sure what it came down to was no one wanted to look "unpatriotic" in light of a coming election season and in the middle of a messy war, and I say that as an indictment of both major political parties, as neither of them should be foolish enough to try to fundamentally change the constitution to such a radical extreme.

    I only know that this happened because I happened to see a news story on this on yahoo briefly last night - it took a bit of digging to find it this morning. Not surprisingly, this one is being done mostly under the radar.
     
  2. noodles

    noodles Contributor

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    I didn't even have to read your arguement to see what they're aiming for with this one: setting legal precident that aims to limit the scope of the court's power. What's next? Passing legislation that prevents the court from ruling on wiretaping? Privacy? Freedom of Speach? The possibilities are endless.

    Not even the current horrible, awful, GOP-stacked court is going to allow Congress to limit their power. Even if it passes the Senate, except a judicial bitch-slap that rules the law unconsititutional.
     
  3. nitelightboy

    nitelightboy I poop in shoes. Contributor

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    Lots of good info there Drew. Thanks for keeping us up to date!
     
  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    For anyone who doesn't want to read me rant, consider this the Cliff-Notes summary. :D

    EDIT - in fact, linked from my original. Noodles, perfect synopsys as always. :metal:
     
  5. noodles

    noodles Contributor

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    Meet the new boss:
    [​IMG]

    Same as the old boss:
    [​IMG]

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
     
  6. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    I'm fairly certain that's Karl Rove's mission statement.

    To elaborate on the topic, albiet in the shortest form possible: If your representative voted for this, call their office, tell them you're not voing for them in November, and that the reason you're not is that you don't like elected officials who try to undermine the Constitution for cheap idealogical gain...

    In fact, call your Senators and tell them that BEFORE they vote. Of course, here I already know how they'll vote (Warner against, George Felix Bush, er, Allen for), but it never hurts to remind them.

    Then, get everyone you know to do the same thing.
     
  7. Mastodon

    Mastodon Songs about My Cats

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    Wow how the hell did we come to all this?

    Man, back in 8th grade I was thinking about how we say the pledge everyday and asked myself "what does it really mean?" Then I thought about how it was a violation of seperation of church and state.

    So I consulted with my civics teacher and he told me that it is my right to obstain from the pledge.

    Which I did for about a week before my other teachers got very very angry and made me stand again.

    Later on I brought it up in civics and we had a good discussion about how,

    A. It seems as if they are just trying to blindly shove nationalism down our throats since we've been taught to say it since kindergarden, but no one has every bothered to explain to us what it meant or why we say it. And we say it every day, rather than once or twice a week (which I think would make it much more meaningful)

    B. The violation of seperation of church and state. It was interesting to see some of my classmates who were Christian get so upset and angry at those of us who argued that "under god" should be removed. As if we were trying to harm them.
     
    Drew likes this.
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Two absolutely excellent points, particularly that the way the Pledge is currently introduced in classroom curriculums robs it of meaning by making it a question of empty, thoughtless obedience rather than an affirmation of the core values of this country and your belief (or allegiance, if you prefer) in them.


    Again, for dramatic effect, "One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," judged solely on poetic grounds, absolutely shits all over "one nation under god, invisible."

    The cheif irony here is that technically, "under god" is a pretty strong divider between the two component parts of that phrase, and is doing a pretty damned good job of dividing an indivisible country. :lol:
     
  9. David

    David je t'aime Contributor

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    1) Holy shit.

    2) God damn.

    3) I'm thinking about becoming a conservative republican and kissing ass.
     
  10. Metal Ken

    Metal Ken Hates the Air Contributor

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    I'm all for getting rid of God, but this isnt the way to go about doing it. I still want my courts to be able to decide on shit! Why else are they there?
     
  11. Dive-Baum

    Dive-Baum Bite Me Fan Boy!!

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    That is scarry..nice catch Drew..You know that few people will catch that. I would hope it doesn't pass the Senate. Here's the thing...Drew and Noodles are right. This is just a setup for things to come. They want to set a precident to take away the Judicial Branch. They have already casterated the Legislative Branch. This will pave the way for ZERO oversight on the Executive Branch. Bush already said they cant investigate the wire tap procedures. He actually said no. And no one can do a damn thing about it.
    If this passes we might as well make him Emperor because there will be nothing he can't do. What is scary is that Jeb Bush is finishing up his term as Gov down here. He is next.

    This is just another example of the Republicans trying to rally the base before the mid term elections
     
  12. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    Even if it passes, it won't survive the legal test - it takes a Constitutional Amendment to change the power of the Judicial branch. He only gets away with it with Congress because his party holds the majority. Of course, we keep voting them in there, so...
     
  13. Metal Ken

    Metal Ken Hates the Air Contributor

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    Considering how much people dont like bush right now, coupled with the fact that Jeb wisely declined to run, as well as that i'd be betting money on the next president being democrat, i dont think we have anything to worry about.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Pretty much dead-on. I wouldn't completely discount the possibility of a Republican president, because while the GOP is hemhorranging at the seams at the moment the Dems also have this gift for fucking things up, but if it does come down to a Republicna president it WON'T be a Bush favorite/party faithful type, but more of an outsider. McCain comes to mind as being able to command a certain amount of a swing vote.

    Jeb only has a chance (and I think he knows this, else he'd be running) of waiting for a Democratic president to fuck up even more than Bush just did, because right now the Bush name is a liability.
     
  15. Metal Ken

    Metal Ken Hates the Air Contributor

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    I think that if another bush got elected, there'd be some sort of massive riot lol
     
  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    A buddy of mine made a T-shirt after the 2004 election - "The only Bush I like is spelled with a C." That, two years later, still rings true. :agreed:
     
  17. noodles

    noodles Contributor

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    Never will happen. McCain is far to moderate for the GOP to back him.
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    He's also pretty extreme in a few key issues - I believe he's advocated basically invading Mexico to prevent illegal immigration in the past - but it really comes down to the question that the Dems had to ask last election, do you run the guy who you want to win, or the guy least likely to piss off the other side and most likely to actually pull it off? This is why we had Kerry, a moderate-to-liberal Dem with a solid war record and not Dean, an upstart from the first state to legalize same-sex marraige, a brilliant political organizer but too much of a firebrand to be taken seriously by anyone right-of-center (there's also the fact that he sort of shot himself in the foot through the media a few times, of course, most notably with his "scream" which got derrided on Fox news in fairly heavy rotation for a while). This is also why the Dems will NOT run Hillary in '08 (I hope - she's fundraising her ass off).

    Personally, I think McCain doesn't have a chance to get GOP backing largely because they're currently in control of both the executive and legislative, and arguably have a solid edge in the judiciary, branches of government. This is the most solidly entrenched a single party has been in as long as I can remember (which, at 25, isn't that long - certainly more so than the Dems ever were with Clinton), and it comes down to an ego thing - I think the GOP is too proud to switch to defensive tactics this quickly after what was essentially a highwater mark, and won't consider running a practical candidate over an idealogical one.
     
  19. noodles

    noodles Contributor

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    We can only hope. That thinking will be their undoing.
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Dude, I pray to Al Frankin every night asking for that, and ONLY that. :lol:


    ...well, ok, and a date with Keira, but honestly, do you blame me? :wub:
     

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