What is real ID and how does that affect us today? Who is Mark Lerner?
What is bio-metrics and how specifically it relates to facial recognition?
Twila Brase (Pres. and co-founder of Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom) explains what an individual should do regarding their privacy when visiting the doctor. Should there be signing of any forms at the doctors? How does anybody know what must sign or should not sign? What should and should not be signed at the doctor’s office in relation to the release of your health data?
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. Twila Brase (Pres. and co-founder of Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom) explains what the historic approach has been in this nation and in law regarding the privacy of patient health care information. Also, why has the protection and privacy of individual patient health care data been so protected by law and not allowed to be shared?
The student government at the University of California at Davis voted last week to amend a bylaw requiring the American flag fly at all meetings. Sam Rohrer explains why people protest the flag.
AMAC and its members are a family of proud, patriotic Americans who believe that we have a responsibility to work together to perpetuate American exceptionalism, keeping our country strong and preserving it for our children and grandchildren.
- We are a member-driven organization advocating on behalf of over 1.2 million AMAC members – not against them.
- We have assembled an exceptional (and growing) array of money-saving benefits for AMAC members.
- We believe in the greatness of the United States of America and in the sanctity of our Constitution.
- We believe in the traditional values that this nation was built upon.
- We believe that those of us over 50 bear special obligation to lead our nation, especially in these challenging times. When we stand together, we can make a real difference.
- We stand with NRA and support the Second Amendment.
By Walter E. Williams
The celebration of our founders’ 1776 revolt against King George III and the English Parliament is over. Let’s reflect how the founders might judge today’s Americans and how today’s Americans might judge them.
In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” He later added, “(T)he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” Two hundred years later, at least two-thirds of a multi-trillion-dollar federal budget is spent on charity or “objects of benevolence.”
What would the founders think about our respect for democracy and majority rule? Here’s what Thomas Jefferson said: “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.” John Adams advised, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” The founders envisioned a republican form of government, but as Benjamin Franklin warned, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
What would the founders think about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo v. City of New London decision where the court sanctioned the taking of private property of one American to hand over to another American? John Adams explained: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
Thomas Jefferson counseled us not to worship the U.S. Supreme Court: “(T)he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
How might our founders have commented about last week’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding our rights to keep and bear arms? Justice Samuel Alito, in writing the majority opinion, said, “Individual self-defense is the central component of the Second Amendment.” The founders would have responded “Balderdash!” Jefferson said, “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
George Mason explained, “(T)o disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” Noah Webster elaborated: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed. … The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”
Contrary to Alito’s assertion, the central component of the Second Amendment is to protect ourselves from U.S. Congress, not street thugs.
Today’s Americans have contempt for our founders’ vision. I’m sure our founders would have contempt for ours.
By Dennis Prager
In 2006, 57 percent of Virginia’s voters voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Last week, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
In 2004, 76 percent of Oklahoma’s voters voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On Jan. 14, 2014, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
In 2004, 66 percent of Utah’s electorate voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. On Dec. 20, 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
In 2004, 75 percent of Kentucky’s voters amended their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. On Feb. 12, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II “struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated ‘gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them'” (Washington Post).
In 2008, 52 percent of California’s voters amended their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman. On August 4, 2010, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that vote unconstitutional.
There is no doubt that federal judges will continue to do this throughout the country. Even the vote of 81 percent of Alabama voters will count for nothing to some federal judge.
Society may no longer define marriage in the only way marriage has ever been defined in the annals of recorded history. Many societies allowed polygamy, many allowed child marriages, some allowed marriage within families; but none in thousands of years defined marriage as the union of people of the same sex.
None of this matters to these judges or to all those who seek to re-define marriage and can’t convince a majority of their fellow citizens to agree.
For them, it is identical to ruling that laws that banned interracial marriages were unconstitutional. But that argument is utterly flawed. First, the analogy is false because there is no difference between black people and white people, while there are enormous differences between males and females. Second, no great moral tradition or thinking ever forbade interracial marriages (inter-religious marriages were sometimes forbidden). Moses, for example, married a black woman, and neither the Bible nor God hinted that it was wrong.
Proponents of same-sex marriage regularly label opponents “radical” and “extremist.” However, given that no society in thousands of years has allowed same-sex marriage, it is, by definition, the proponents of same-sex marriage whose position is radical and extreme. You cannot re-define marriage in a more radical way than allowing members of the same sex to marry. You can argue that is the moral thing to do. But you cannot argue that is it not radical.
All these judges have a hubris that is simply breathtaking. They not only know that they read the Constitution more accurately than the vast majority of the residents of many of America’s states, but they are also entirely comfortable with forcing great majorities of Americans to accept this new definition of marriage.
That it is conceit rather than legal reasoning is easily shown when one peruses the opinions of these judges.
I will cite only Judge Vaughn Walker as an example:
Walker: “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”
“No rational basis”? This is hubris. What he is stating is that for all of Western history — and contemporaneous non-Western history — there has not been a rational basis for defining marriage as the union of a man a woman. Vaughn Walker is convinced that he thinks more rationally than every moral leader and thinker in history, not one of whom advocated same-sex marriage. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Enlightenment — all were irrational regarding same-sex marriage, according to Judge Walker.
In Judge Walker’s mind, it is irrational, just to cite one example, to prefer that men and women form families in order to provide children with a mother and a father.
Walker: “Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”
Yes, without in any way reducing the worth or the decency of any gay human being or dismissing the depth of same-sex love, California, like the rest of the world, has indeed believed in the superiority of man-woman unions. Not in the superiority of straight men and women as people: The gay human being is created in God’s image every bit as much as the straight human being, and there are gays who have led vastly more moral lives than many straights. But regarding how the family — the building block of society — should be constituted, the civilized world has always believed that it should be based on a married mother and father.
Society has also believed in the superiority of mother-father families to single-parent families. And that, too, never meant that every married person is inherently superior to every single person.
Walker: “Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis.”
This is another example of the lack of serious thought — as opposed to serious passion — that underlies the movement to redefine marriage. If American society has a “constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis,” then there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry.
On the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are winning. Above all, hubris is winning. That is why proponents always assert that they are “on the right side of history.”
But history is very long. Our grandchildren, or their grandchildren, will judge whether this is true. The Left since Marx has asserted that every one of their radical positions — such as the demise of capitalism — is on the right side of history. Virtually none turned out to be.
Let’s assume that each of our 535 congressmen cares about the destructive impact of deficits and debt on the future of our country. Regardless of party, congressmen face enormous lobbying pressures and awards to spend more and little or no pressure and awards to spend less. The nation’s founders would be horrified by today’s congressional spending that consumes 25 percent of our GDP. Contrast that to the years 1787 to the 1920s when federal government spending never exceeded 4 percent of our GDP except in wartime. Today, federal, state and local government consumes 43 percent of what Americans produce each year. The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation computes that the average taxpayer is forced to work from Jan. 1 to mid-April to pay federal, state and local taxes. If he were taxed enough to pay the $1.5 trillion federal deficit, he’d be forced to work until mid-May.
Tax revenue is not the problem. The federal government has collected just about 20 percent of the nation’s GDP almost every year since 1960. Federal spending has exceeded revenue for most of that period and has taken an unprecedented leap since 2008 to produce today’s massive deficit. Since federal spending is the problem, that’s where our focus should be.
Cutting spending is politically challenging. Every spending constituency sees its handout as vital, whether it’s Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients or farmers, poor people, educators or the military. It’s easy for congressmen to say yes to these spending constituencies because whether it’s Democrats or Republicans in control, they face no hard and fast bottom line.
The bottom line that Americans need is a constitutional amendment limiting congressional spending to some fraction, say 20 percent, of the GDP. That limit could be exceeded only if the president declared a state of emergency along with a two-thirds vote of approval in both houses of Congress. Each year of a declared state of emergency would require another two-thirds vote in each house.
During the early ’80s, I was a member of the National Tax Limitation Committee’s distinguished blue-ribbon drafting committee that included notables such as Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Paul McCracken, Bill Niskanen, Craig Stubblebine, Robert Bork, Aaron Wildavsky, Robert Nisbet, Robert Carleson and others. We drafted a Balanced Budget/Spending Limitation amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Senate passed that amendment on Aug. 4, 1982, by a vote of 69 to 31, two more than the two-thirds vote required for approval of a constitutional amendment. The vote was bipartisan: 47 Republicans, 21 Democrats and 1 Independent voted for the amendment.
It was a different story in the House of Representatives. Its leadership, under Tip O’Neill tried to prevent a vote on the amendment; however, a discharge petition forced a vote on it. While the amendment was approved by a majority (236 to 187), it did not meet the two-thirds required by Article V of the Constitution. The vote was again bipartisan: 167 Republicans, 69 Democrats. The amendment can be found in Milton and Rose Friedman’s “Tyranny of the Status Quo.”
The benefit of a balanced budget/spending limitation amendment is that it would give Congress a bottom line just as we in the private sector have a bottom line. Congress would be forced to play one spending constituency off against another, rather than, as it does today, satisfy most spending constituents and pass the buck to the rest of us and future generations in the forms of federal deficits and debt.
The 1980s discussions settled on giving Congress a spending limit of 18 or 20 percent of our GDP. I thought a 10 percent limit was better. When queried by a reporter as to why 10 percent, I told him that if 10 percent is good enough for the Baptist Church, it ought to be good enough for Congress.
By Walter E. Williams
How many of us would prefer that the Founders had written the First Amendment so as to focus on fairness rather than freedom and instead wrote: Congress shall make no unfair laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the fair exercise thereof; or abridging the fairness of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble in a fair fashion, and to fairly petition the Government for a redress of grievances”?
How supportive would you be to a person who argued that he was for free religion but fair religion, or he was for free speech but fair speech? Would you be supportive of government efforts to limit unfair religion and unfair speech? How might life look under a regime of fairness of religion, speech and the press?
Suppose a newspaper published a statement like “President Obama might easily end his term alongside Jimmy Carter as one of America’s worse presidents.” Some people might consider that fair speech while other people denounce it as unfair speech. What to do? A tribunal would have to be formed to decide on the fairness or unfairness of the statement. It goes without saying that the political makeup of the tribunal would be a matter of controversy. Once such a tribunal was set up, how much generalized agreement would there be on what it decreed? And, if deemed unfair speech, what should the penalties be?
The bottom line is that what’s fair or unfair is an elusive concept and the same applies to trade. Last summer, I purchased a 2010 LS 460 Lexus, through a U.S. intermediary, from a Japanese producer for $70,000. Here’s my question to you: Was that a fair or unfair trade? I was free to keep my $70,000 or purchase the car. The Japanese producer was free to keep his Lexus or sell me the car. As it turned out, I gave up my $70,000 and took possession of the car, and the Japanese producer gave up possession of the car and took possession of my money. The exchange occurred because I saw myself as being better off and so did the Japanese producer. I think it was both free and fair trade, and I’d like an American mercantilist to explain to me how it wasn’t.
Mercantilists have absolutely no argument when we recognize that trade is mostly between individuals. Mercantilists pretend that trade occurs between nations such as U.S. trading with England or Japan to appeal to our jingoism. First, does the U.S. trade with Japan and England? In other words, is it members of the U.S. Congress trading with their counterparts in the Japanese Diet or the English Parliament? That’s nonsense. Trade occurs between individuals in one country, through intermediaries, with individuals in another country.
Who might protest that my trade with the Lexus manufacturer was unfair? If you said an American car manufacturer and their union workers, go to the head of the class. They would like Congress to restrict foreign trade so that they can sell their cars at a pleasing price and their workers earn a pleasing wage. As a matter of fact, it’s never American consumers who complain about cheaper prices. It’s always American producers and their unions who do the complaining. That ought to tell us something.
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