Government increasingly mocks Constitution

As I prepared for my first constitutional law seminar of the fall semester at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta last week, I was reminded again of the majesty of the document which forms the basis for my teaching role.  I have always considered the Constitution of the United States to be the most magnificent document ever writ by the hand of Man. It is profound in its clarity of purpose and its deep understanding of human nature.  It outshines by orders of magnitude other, more “modern” government blueprints; such as the multi-hundred page, detail-burdened European Union version.

It is the Constitution alone to which top government officials, including the President and members of Congress, take an oath upon assuming office.  They swear to protect and defend the Constitution; not their opinions or their policies; not what their constituents might want from government; and certainly not what office holders themselves seek to have government do for themselves or their constituents.  The constitutional framework our nation adopted after months of heated debate in 1788 was intended to protect the liberty of the citizenry, but equally to restrain and keep the government itself within bounds.

In 21st-Century parlance, individual liberty was to be the Constitution’s “default mode.” No longer.

Through a toxic combination of ignorance and deliberate indifference to the purposes and history of the Constitution, it has in many respects been so decimated as to provide currently only fitful protection for the liberty we as Americans were supposed to enjoy.  This once-hallowed document now affords virtually no checks on the scope, power and cost of the federal government.  Events of recent days and months have illustrated quite graphically this sad state of constitutional affairs.

The debate over construction of a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan a few blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center, confirms for us that the First Amendment’s oft-quoted guarantee that in America government cannot use its power to limit religious expression or practice, is honored as much in the breach as in the practice. 

“Sensitivity” to the views of those who do not want a Muslim center to be built so close to “Ground Zero” now appears to trump the heretofore clear directive of the First Amendment — at least in the eyes of many who claim to understand and support the Constitution, including the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, and many current members of Congress.

“Fear” is another oft-played constitutional trump card.  Ever since the World Trade Center was toppled by terrorist-piloted airliners on September 11, 2001, fear of another terrorist incident has time and again trumped the Fourth Amendment’s clear mandate against baseless government snooping.  Thanks to the constitutional contortions launched by former President George W. Bush, and largely continued by the current administration, the government claims the right to listen at will to our phone and internet communications, and to monitor our driving patterns, our travel activities, and our spending habits. 

“Public Safety” regularly is used by governments to make a mockery of the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the individual right to “keep and bear arms.”  

“National security” has become the Holy Grail of government action to justify all manner of intrusion into the lives of the citizenry.  No less a constitutional scholar than the former Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez, opined preposterously in 2007 that the “Great Writ” of habeas corpus did not enjoy constitutional gravitas in the face of terrorist challenges to our security.

The “health-care crisis” has become the justification for government to drive the final stake through the heart of the Constitution’s “commerce clause”; crafted oh, so long ago as a simple guarantee of freedom of interstate commerce.

Were James Madison alive today, he would weep for America; and his tears would not be tears of joy.

90 comments Add your comment

Tom K

August 23rd, 2010
6:12 am

Both parties have done a pretty good job of raping the Constitution for their own ends. When it’s something they support, it doesn’t matter what the Constitution says. When it’s something they oppose, they trot it out like it means something to them.

Constitutionality can’t be a sometimes thing. It must be something that all laws are judged by and those who are elected should try to balance the wishes of the people with what is permitted by that sacred document. They don’t, and they haven’t for quite some time.

John

August 23rd, 2010
7:20 am

Rape is a strong word. It does not fit here.

If the Constitution was thrown away each time someone wanted to avoid it then it would no longer exist, and this discussion would never happen.

What has happened is a gradual chipping away at the restrictions and protections that exist in the Constitution.

Fear and public safety arguments have been the worst culprits of Constitutional attacks. Warrantless wiretapping of citizens occurred out of fear of terrorist attacks. Public safety over-rode Constitutional guarantees to give us the patriot act. Advocates of the act and of the government listening into citizen’s phone calls argue that the only people who should be worried are those with something to hide. Conveniently forgotten is the question of who decides when someone has something to hide — the government, democrats, republicans, a bureaucrat?

Courts have thankfully pushed back against gun bans. The McDonald case from Chicago has ended all-out bans of carrying guns. Nevertheless, it is something that will likely need to be defended again in the future.

I do diverge on the question of healthcare. The Commerce Clause has become demonized, but that does not mean it has no legitimate uses. Regulating health insurers who enjoy immunity from anti-monopoly provisions enforced against other industries is, I believe, well within the ambit of the commerce clause’s power.

Many will, at this point, argue that penalizing those who do not get healthcare coverage is beyond the power of the Commerce Clause. They are right. However, it is not necessarily beyond the taxation power of Congress.

The interesting question of the healthcare bill is not whether it is allowable under the commerce clause. The interesting question is whether Congress’ taxation penalties on those who do not get health insurance have pushed beyond the powers of Congress’ power to tax. There is much less jurisprudence on the scope of Congress’ power to tax, and it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court outlines that power.

Finally, it is good to see Mr. Barr defend freedom of religion. It is sad to see so many who claim to be constitutionalists ignore one of the fundamental constitutional protections — freedom of religion — in the New York mosque debate. After all, our nation was founded in large part by those persecuted for their religious views.

Jim W

August 23rd, 2010
7:35 am

Bob Barr is an unwavering voice in the fight to keep these issues visible. He is not a Constitutional purist, he is a pure Constitutionalists. Our freedoms under the Constitution will erode without the public working to keep them intact. We all need to be concerned about all of the facets of this erosion whether it is the first amendment, the second amendment or the fourteenth. Mr. Barr, thank you for your ongoing, intelligent, dissertations on the subject.

Drawing Black Lines

August 23rd, 2010
8:12 am

Enter your comments here

Eric

August 23rd, 2010
8:31 am

John: The problem with health care as a “tax” is that premiums are going toward a private health insurance firm rather than to the national treasury. As a free citizen, if I’m not in agreement with various aspects of the available health insurance plans, I should have the right not to participate without penalty. I gladly pay my taxes to Uncle Sam, but not to greedy insurance companies.

Chill Will

August 23rd, 2010
8:36 am

Just waiting on the revolution to happen, tho it probably wont happen in my life time. Yet I believe if we allow the incremental destruction of our freedoms, we the people will have no choice.

barking frog

August 23rd, 2010
8:37 am

“Congress shall make no laws” is the ruling clause in the amendments
and is the government limiting aspect of our Constitution. The
amendments are delineations of the rights that the writers thought
would be clear in the original and not “add ons”. They should be
seen as clarifiers the interpreters had to have forced upon them.

john k

August 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

Bob, what about imposing one set of rules for vendors at a carnival, and advocating letting another skirt all those rules because they’re “cute?”

jt

August 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

“In 21st-Century parlance, individual liberty was to be the Constitution’s “default mode.”

The constitution is dead.

For those who love liberty, it is time to “default” to the Articles of Federation and the Declaration of Independence. Those are the only articles that matter to me.

Bubba

August 23rd, 2010
9:14 am

It started with Bush? Please. Madison would have been weeping a long time ago; perhaps when Lincoln had a sitting congressman arrested, imprisoned and dumped behind Confederate lines for opposing the Civil War. Or when FDR had American citizens sent to internment camps because of their Japanese heritage. Heck, even Jefferson admitted he exceeded the powers of the presidency in making the Louisiana Purchase. His rationale? It was too good of a deal to pass up.

God Loving Patriot

August 23rd, 2010
9:14 am

What the constitutionalists don’t speak of here is that freedom of religion for ALL religions! You speak of the patriots rising up against a mosque being built on the grounds where 3000 innocent Americans were killed by muslim terrorists, yet you fail to mention that two weeks before, the so-called president of this country canceled National Prayer Day in America, calling it an affront to other religions. Uh, did he by chance mean muslim religion? If you want to call it an affront, why don’t you liberals just give away our country to the muslims and live under Sharia law? Then see how much freedom of anything you have. As the great Ronald Reagon once said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”

Intown

August 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

John Marshall Law . . . is that accredited?

Barack

August 23rd, 2010
9:17 am

What’s the big deal about the constitution…we can navigate around it if we have to. More importantly…can anyone help me get rid of that nasty slice off the tee?

Ole Guy

August 23rd, 2010
9:19 am

John, the problem with reality is the very fact that reality, in its unvarnished presence is, quite often, a not very palatible thing to behold. Tommy K is quite accurate in his observation that our leadership has raped the Constitution, very much as the elements of the evening would procure companionship of the opposite persuasion for the express purpose of enabling a specific agenda, only to discard that procured upon realizing fullfillment. Sounds pretty nasty, does it not? Yet this is precisely what our leadership has done. What else would you call the deprivation of privacy wraped in a flag-draped cloak righteously dubbed The Patriot Act?

God Loving Patriot

August 23rd, 2010
9:19 am

As far as the Constitution and the Obamacare proposition, the Constitution states that the Federal government may NOT force Americans to purchase ANYTHING! Nuff said.

Beth

August 23rd, 2010
9:20 am

These are all great points, but, this great nation was founded on “IN GOD WE TRUST” and the more the government keeps trying to take God out of this country the worse the conditions will get. It is a disgrace that the government wants to take “One Nation Under God” out of our pledge but will concider allowing the construction of a mosque just minutes away from the site where so many Americans lost their lives because of Terrorists!

P F

August 23rd, 2010
9:23 am

If you really want an idea of what seems to be happening slowly, everyone should read two books. ‘1984′ & ‘Brave New World’. Both (and in particular BNW) describe how an “utopian” society is created by sacrificing individual liberty.

Beth

August 23rd, 2010
9:27 am

I agree with God Loving Patriot 100%. The government doesn’t mind discriminating against religions that actually believe in God!

Mark

August 23rd, 2010
9:29 am

To the patriot: You would do well to engage your brain before you let your mouth speak. You’re wrong on both counts. President Obama has never cancelled the National Day of Prayer (here’s this year’s proclamation: http://nationaldayofprayer.org/news/2010-presidential-proclamation/) and the Constitution makes no such statement about buying things (you might read this: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/stimulus/2010/aug/11/whats-constitution-good/). Ignorance must not be bliss, because yours seems to be making you very unhappy.

G'Vegas Dawg

August 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Intown – are you serious??

Sick&Tired

August 23rd, 2010
9:38 am

What’s more important to you the Constitution or your religious (Bible, Koran, etc..)? The problem with the world today is MAN/WOMAN; with the need to have power and dominate by greed.

People are using the Constitution for their own views and political gains. However, Revelation sums it all up.

Pamela McGregor

August 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

Listened to Morning Joe this am. The commentators were right. What a sad day yesterday. The righteous indignation of 9/11 should also be in OK where Tim, a christian, murdered innocent babies. Please build a center there, too – any religous group – and the victims will be forever victimized and stabbed in the heart again…for this too is holy ground…..

ViewFromMidtown

August 23rd, 2010
9:44 am

This frog has been boiling for a long time Bob. The fourth amendment was being eviscerated long before 9/11 by “law & order” conservatives and the endless and useless “war on drugs” with goodies like no-knock warrants and asset forfeiture laws. More recently, the activist Roberts Court has been working to curtail the enumeration of rights to criminal suspects (Miranda warning) helping to further tip the scales to the government. Politicians rarely mention these items due to fear of being labeled “soft on crime” and there is no major lobbying group for the Fourth Amendment unlike the First and Second.

The ginned-up lower-Manhattan Islamic center brouhaha is a great example of why the founders added the bill of rights as they recognized the dangers of the tyranny of the majority. Unfortunately, many on the right have been openly attacking the key mechanisms that protect unpopular minorities with their tirades against “judicial tyranny” in the court system and insistence that any subject, even fundamental rights, should be up for popular vote. This all plays very well with a certain bloc of voters who are nervous and uncertain about the future which may include losing their majority and privileged statuses.

The irony is that the representative democracy which is a key defining feature of this country has given birth to the politics that threatens to undermine and cripple it.

he democracy will cease to exist when you take away from from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not

August 23rd, 2010
9:45 am

Charles Krauthammer said recently, “decline is a choice.” The Democrats are offering it to the American people, and a certain proportion of them seem minded to accept. Enough to make a decline of America inevitable?

And as John Adams said in a letter to John Taylor in 1814 “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Sick&Tired

August 23rd, 2010
9:49 am

If you people truly care about your constitutional rights, you should read the article about all the judges in this state who have resigned due to inappropriate conduct. These people are expected to carry out unbiased practices, but are amongst the immoral. They are the first line of defense to our Constitutional Rights, laws and best practices. If you can’t trust a Judge, your constitutional rights are null and void.

Bubba

August 23rd, 2010
9:50 am

In the interest of accuracy, Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian, although he grew up in the Catholic Church. But as an adult, he was an agnostic.

John

August 23rd, 2010
9:56 am

I believe in the Constitution.

The more I look at any party in power, the more it seems they don’t believe in the Constitution.

And the more it seems like the minority party does believe.

But then, the parties in power switch, and so do their Constitutional beliefs.

Amazing.

whocares

August 23rd, 2010
10:21 am

The Constitution is the foundation of our country, bottomline. If you don’t uphold or defend it. You are NOT an American! If you challenge it or try to change what it stands for then you are no better than these other countries that hate us for everything we stand for because the Constitution is what we stand for.

If not, then its the same thing if I say today I am not going to pay my taxes this year because I haven’t made as much money as last year, so I am just going to do it in a year or two. You can’t be a Fairweather American and only uphold the Constitution to how you see fit or it works for you. That is Republican, Democrat, etc.

Stephen White

August 23rd, 2010
10:22 am

The author of this article refers to the Constitution as “This once-hallowed document” as if it were a “sacred object” never to be disobeyed or changed in any way and to which citizens owe unwavering and unilateral homage. After citing what he considers to be a number of ways in which deviations from Constitutional fundamentalism have been allowed to survive without suppression, this author then offers the following hyperbolic observation that “Were James Madison alive today, he would weep for America; and his tears would not be tears of joy.” On the contrary, many think he would be delighted if not downright amused. Ditto for Thomas Jefferson, et. al.
Oddly, it was James Madison who is often referred to as the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” the first admission by the collective body of congress and the states that the original document was a “flawed and imperfect” document and needed to be amended from time to time. It is also odd that the power of judicial review grew out of this hallowed document. It is as if Jahweh, God, or Allah had granted the power to rewrite the Ten Commandments (and holy writings) to the people by allowing the people to select representatives who could vote on appointees to the sacred body that could change the meanings and interpretations of Holy Writ. How dare they do such a thing!
And conservatives and liberals alike believe that judicial power and law enforcement authority has been exercised in ways that are inconsistent with constitutional sanctity. If courts allow all of the things the author despises (because he is a Republican), they also render decisions repugnant to Democrats (See Gore v. Bush which some characterize in the famous phrase: “How the Supreme Court Stole the Election of 2000″). What the author seems to be saying is, we want to enshrine our version of constitutional interpretation and tolerance (however narrow) in an untouchable palace of honor and allow no deviations in practice or law from it. The world of strict constructionists is populated with people (like this author) who live in a judicial and administrative fantasy world where think-alike R-fundamentalists find comfort in each and every other’s arms, but it is a world that will not tolerate diversity. AND that is not the real world in which most U. S. citizens, whether they admit it or not, live.
I yearn for the day when the phrase “moderate Republican” will no longer be a term of disdain. Perhaps then a real discussion about the Constitution can take place.

Pedro

August 23rd, 2010
10:34 am

While I believe that the right to build the mosque exists, I feel that it is in poor taste and an inflammatory gesture to build it in its proposed location. If you poke me in the eye I will likely poke you back. To proceed with this construction effort is not in the best interest of healing, regardless of the right to do so.

Matt Wilson For Supreme Court

August 23rd, 2010
10:35 am

Bob Barr’s lamentations are entirely correct and reflect a failure of our Courts, particularly our Supreme Courts to “protect and defend” our constitutions, our civil rights and liberties, and to restrain the growth of government, and therefore the growth of taxes. This is precisely why I am running for the Supreme Court of Georgia. Please visit http://www.wilsonforsupremecourt.com to help protect our constitution, our rights and freedoms, and to limit government.

J.B. STONER

August 23rd, 2010
10:39 am

In DIXIE land, where I was born, early lord one frosty morn, LOOK AWAY,LOOK AWAY…..LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Bob Barr

August 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

In response to a comment this morning regarding John Marshall Law School in Atlanta — yes, John Marshall is fully accredited by the ABA. It is an excellent law school with both day and evening programs.

Aquagirl

August 23rd, 2010
10:43 am

……..sez the ex-prosecutor from the Drug Wars.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
10:44 am

All documents were written in a time in history. When the Consitution was written, in no way did they intend for individual citizens to literally vote for the President. However, we now do.

Also, I do not think that the writers of the Constitution imagined the complete lack of morals and ethics of big business. The Enrons, the pharmacy companys, etc. I had sugery three months ago and am getting double and triple billed by the hospital, the anethesititist, the surgeon, the ‘facility’, and so on. Their threat is that they will ruin my credit rating.

With no recourse to these unethical practices, new laws must be put in place to protect the people.

Too many people lost their retirement and savings to Enron. Sure, some ‘people were caught’ and are serving time in jail, but what good is that to Mr. and Ms. Smith that still must work at the age of 80 cause they lost their retirement? The laws must be changed.

Obama has done the right things for the people. Finance reform was needed. Health care reform was needed. People must be protected from those unethical people looking to take advantage of others.

GB

August 23rd, 2010
10:45 am

Is it a violation of the First Amendment for citizens, ranging from survivors of 9/11 victims, to journalists, to Congressmen, to suggest to the builders of the mosque that they not build it? Is it a violation for this suggestion to be emphatic? I certainly don’t see why.

This mosque is being built to make a point; it is a war cry; it is a victory cry. We attacked; we destroyed the WTC; we are winning the war against Christendom. This mosque is the proof of our strength and of the weakness of our enemies, and of their foolishness.

I can read the First Amendment. There is nothing in it that says Americans must be silent and raise no protest when the Moslems raise this war cry.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
10:48 am

I would much prefer our Supreme Court and our President “protect and defend” the people of this Country rather than the Consititution! As any social studies expert would tell you, the Consitution is a living, breatheing document that should be changed (called amendments) to remain current.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
10:59 am

@GB – I think that you are watching too much FOX news. Let’s look at facts…

1. It is not a mosque. It is a Muslum community center fashioned after the Jewish community center in NYC.

2. It is not on ground zero. It is blocks from there.

3. The point of this MCC (Muslum community center) is not as you wrote, but rather to reach out to the community – muslum and others – to share ideas and promote understanding and tolerance (this is something you obviously need).

It is the idiot right wingers that inflamed this to the ‘issue’ that it is today. They are stirring up intoleratence to religous freedom – something that is certainly a mainstay in the US (at least I thought it was).

Keep up the good fight!

August 23rd, 2010
11:25 am

Ummm.. Reality, you dont for a President, the electoral college does….otherwise Gore would have been President since he won the popular vote.

While I dont agree with Bob’s interpretation of what is or is not “constitutional” I do weep for those who would so easily throw it out when it is very clear….including the 14th amendment. Too often the demand is for expediency rather than rational thought.

Keep up the good fight!

August 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

If the same construction in NY had been a Shinto Temple, most people would never care. And if they built a church at Centenial Park, would anyone say that is an affront to those injured or killed when, in the name of Christians, afterall a Christian terrorist set off a bomb in the name of the bible to stop abortions.

Bubba

August 23rd, 2010
11:44 am

Reality, you are wrong — there is a mosque within the community center. It says so on their own web site.

Curious Observer

August 23rd, 2010
11:53 am

The Constitution has always been a document to be ignored in times of national emergencies. Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War. Roosevelt ignored it by imprisoning Japanese-American citizens after the Pearl Harbor attack. And Congress ignored it by passing the Patriot Act after the 9/11 attacks. The Constitution is whatever the people in power, with the concurrence of whatever majority sits on the Supreme Court, say it is. You are in deep water and clinging to a fragile reed if you rely on the Constitution to protect you.

OnPatroll

August 23rd, 2010
12:00 pm

John Marshall Law School in Atlanta

founded 1933
accredited 2009

nice

ppbkwriter

August 23rd, 2010
12:10 pm

Without getting into a debate about the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero, how is it a violation of their First Amendment rights to ask them to erect it farther away from the World Trade Center site? Also, if, as some people have stated, it is not a mosque but only a community center that is being proposed, how does the First Amendment even come into play?

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
12:16 pm

@Bubba – I am not “wrong.” It is a MCC first, and a small site for prayer within it. It isn’t just a “Mosque.”

The people that first initiated this met with the Jewish Community Center in NYC to follow their lead as a community center. Of course, there must be a place for them to say prayers as their religon dictates.

If is not a “mosque” it is a community center. It isn’t on “ground zero” it is blocks away.

[...] for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, former Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr recently lamented that the Constitution has [...]

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
12:25 pm

For those freaked out by this Muslum Community Center a few blocks from ground zero, how far away should it be to make you feel better? 10 blocks? 20 blocks?

And, why should they do this to just make you ‘feel better?’

I am not Muslum. I was born and raised here in GA as a Christian. However, I am a strong believer in freedoms – religous and otherwise.

Imagine the statement that the US makes to the world (including the Muslum one) if we do allow this community center to be built! We would be saying that we accept peaceful people of all religons and only reject the violent and fringe people.

Honestly, I fear those fringe people that are Christians as much as I fear those that are Muslums!

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
12:29 pm

@Keep up the Good Fight,

The popular vote has determined the president in all recent elections except one. And, you named that one. Bush was declared president by the Supreme Court. That was an exception.

In the other elections, the popular vote determined the winner. Yes, the electorial college went through the motions, but they followed the popular vote State by State. This is not what the writers of the Constitution had in mind.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
12:35 pm

In the Federalist papers, in Jefferson vs. Hamilton, they argued about whom should be able to vote (whose vote really counts). Hamilton argued that only the most educated and affluent should vote for President while Jefferson said that only property owners should vote.

Later, the Constitution was again amended that declared that US Senators only should vote for the President.

Those people, in no way, imagined that some electorial college or most the popular vote would elect the President of the US.

jconservative

August 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Nice piece of writing Barr.

The debate on the Islamic cultural center and ground zero is just that, a debate. As long as government keeps its hands out of the debate no violation of the Constitution takes place.

But I do find it curious that the anti factions on the Islamic cultural center prefer to ignore the actual Islamic mosque 4 blocks from Ground Zero (Masjid Manhattan) and the other Islamic mosque 12 blocks from Ground Zero (Masjid al-Farah). Why are these two actual, already existing, mosques ignored but the cultural center is causing a furor?

Can anyone help?

GB

August 23rd, 2010
1:37 pm

To Reality:

Mosque v Community Center: It will have a prayer space large enough to seat 1000-2000 people. Have you ever been to the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church? It has a pool, a gym, a basketball court, racket ball courts, a pool, an indoor track, a child care center, and a playground. But I have never heard anyone claim it is not a church.

Not at ground zero but blocks away: yes, “blocks” away. Two blocks actually, from the WTC site. I looked at a map. Two blocks. Was the attack limited to the WTC property? Certainly not. Much property near the WTC site was damaged and destroyed also, including the building on the location of the proposed mosque.

I am not sure I catch your reference to Fox. Do facts become less factual when they are reported on Fox? Is an opinion less valid because some Fox commentators share it? Is an ad hominem attack a substitute for rational argument?

Bubba

August 23rd, 2010
1:44 pm

Yes, Reality you are wrong. Not that it matters in the context of this debate.

From the Park 51 web site:

Future plans for Park51 include a world-class facility which will house a mosque. Intended to operate as a separate 501(c)(3), the mosque will be a welcoming prayer space accessible to Park51 members as well as all New Yorkers, but will be independently run.

GB

August 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

Reality:

Re popular vote vs Electoral College.

Not presidential election, ever, not one, not a single one, has been “determined by the popular vote.” The Electoral College’s action is pro forma, of course, but the aggregate popular vote is not a consideration. Not at all, and never has been. What counts is the electoral vote determined by the state by state vote. “Winning the popular vote,” a phrase one frequently hears, is a meaningless. It is like saying a football team “won” the rushing yardage or a basketball “won” the rebounds.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
3:31 pm

@GB

As I have already said, it is the electorial college vote that “counts.” But, the electorial college is nothing more than individuals sworn to vote the way of the popular vote for that State. You are straining at nats and missing the point.

The popular vote does matter even if it doesn’t “count.” The popular vote dictates the electorial college vote. And, the electorial college vote does “count.”

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
3:34 pm

@GB – Yes, FOX news mis-reports and distorts very often. They will, even today, talk about the “Mosque on Ground Zero.” And, as I have already stated, it is primarily a cultural center and it is not on ground zero.

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
3:35 pm

@GB,

So your issue is with a Mosque 2 blocks from ground zero? Is 3 blocks away better for you? How about 5 blocks? And, as someone already pointed out, there is already one Mosque 3 blocks away. Do you want to tear that down?

I fear radical Muslums as much as I fear irrational individuals as you seem to be.

ATF

August 23rd, 2010
5:16 pm

Thank you, Bob.

Now, lets protect the VII Amendment from “tort reform”, which, in any manifestation I have read about it, ultimately allows a government (state or federal) to limit what the Constitution only allows a jury to determine.

And, instead of changing the XIV Amendment, lets build the border fence, hire and train the forces needed to patrol the border, increase raids on employers who hire illegal workers, deport the illegal workers and put their employers in jail. How about 1 year in jail for each illegal worker employed?

cecil

August 23rd, 2010
6:27 pm

Fascism, anyone?

J.B. STONER

August 23rd, 2010
7:17 pm

REALITY …

GET REAL.

We do not,i repeat DO NOT want any mosque ANYWHERE near ground zero.

What part of NO do you and uncle ‘BIG EARS’ not understand.

Just leave it alone, DON’T TOUCH IT, OK?

And quit trying to bait people into an already decided topic.
Talk about the Braves or the weather.

Barring Logic

August 23rd, 2010
9:18 pm

@ J.B. STONER

What in the world????? Are you kidding me? Who is this “we” you are talking about?

Isn’t this still America? Are you the Nazi speech police? Are you the dictator to say what goes where?

Not all US citizens agree with you. In fact, Ron Paul released a speech today condeming your position (along with the position of Sara Palin and others) on this issue.

You so-called “conservatives” want to wave the flag but only chose to follow your ideals when it suits you. Protect individual rights? Only when it is in your best interest – to heck with everyone else.

Muslum Americans have every right that you have. The owners of property can still (mostly) build as they see fit – or don’t you believe in that any more?

Grow up! Get your so-called beliefs in order. Apply them equally.

Justice and equality for ALL!!!! That is the American way!

Zazueta

August 23rd, 2010
11:40 pm

The fact is, there is very little hard evidence that Muslims were even involved in 9/11. Bin Laden has never been indited and is not wanted by the FBI for 9/11 due to “Lack of evidence.”
9/11 was executed specifically to overthrow our Constitutional Republic.

Visit reality by visiting Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Acer706

August 23rd, 2010
11:41 pm

And, while Fox News amps up coverage of the Mosque, CNN will not break coverage of what is happening on FaceBook and Twitter regarding “what-if” non-issues.

Bonnie Calcagno

August 24th, 2010
12:19 am

It’s time to give up on the Democrats and Republicans and start voting Libertarian.

Matthew Cole

August 24th, 2010
2:55 am

@Reality

Sure, Muslims can build a mosque there. It’s also OK to build a Confederate museum next to MLK Jr.’s church. Both have the legal right to do so, but of course they are being a bunch of insulting little jerks for doing so.

GB

August 24th, 2010
7:07 am

Reality:

You should become more familiar with the Constitution before trying to discuss it. First, Electors are not sworn to vote according to the popular vote in their respective states. Second, the Constitution does not specify how a state’s Electors are chosen. The Constitution apportions the electoral votes among the states, and leaves to the states the decision as to how the electors are chosen.

Note also that the word is “electoral,” not “electorial.” If you ever say the word out loud put the accent on the second of the three syllables.

Re the distance from Ground Zero: the mosque (yes, mosque, seating 1000-2000 for prayer) is AT Ground Zero, not “near” it. The building was damaged in the attack.

Constitutional Contortions

August 24th, 2010
7:29 am

The final word on the ground zero mosque is that by opposing it, the Bush Choir is appeased, and votes are assured. Constitutionality is in the eye of the Tea Voter. (Period.)

If the mosque is barred from construction then the terrorists win. (Exclamation point.)

We crucify our gods, you know. (Constitutionally)

Jarhead1982

August 24th, 2010
9:05 am

Here is a suggestion, and it comes from the Quoran or practices in Islamic/Muslim countries I do believe, unbelievers are tolerated if they pay a fee as such. So why not design a fee that requires this new mosque/community center, something public, and infuriating to the extremist side of the muslim religon? Afterall, how could they deny what they force others to do?

Wiley

August 24th, 2010
9:58 am

Reality

August 23rd, 2010
10:44 am
Who pays for your retirement? Did you put all that money in the bank? Who will pay for your retire for 20 to 30yrs? Cradle to grave attitude huh.

Wiley

August 24th, 2010
10:02 am

Everyone is concerned about the mosgue. They should be! The government is not protecting its citizens from foreign and domestic enemies. Islam was born by the sword. Islam lives by the sword. Islam proclaims to be peaceful. Dont piss down my back and tell me its raining.

DawgDad

August 24th, 2010
10:12 am

Let me see, a bunch of zealots formed what is essentially a religious sect and declared (in writing) war on the United States, then proceeded to bomb New York and crash planes into the WTC site, destroying the site and much of the immediate surroundings. Now, an Imam with expressed leanings toward the views of this sect wants to construct a mosque on disaster site property purchased at a discount precisely because it was destroyed by this sect, and Bob Barr thinks this is a US constitutional issue, and people are falling for this clap-trap apologist analysis?

Methinks Bob Barr should be drafted and sent to the front in Afghanistan.

Reality

August 24th, 2010
10:18 am

@GB – Grow up. You sound like an immature teenager with a chip on your shoulder.

I challenge you to name one election (except when Bush stole the election through the Supreme Court) where the popular vote and the electorial college vote was not the same within the last 10 elections. A simple challenge to prove my point. I doubt you will do it. You are a blow hard with lots of misguided words and no action.

Reality

August 24th, 2010
10:19 am

@ Wiley – What business is that of yours? I pay for my retirement, thank you very much. What difference does that make to the current topic? ADHD much?

Reality

August 24th, 2010
10:22 am

@GB – Wow. You had better notify CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Feds, etc. They are all showing maps that show the site is blocks from ground zero. I guess that their maps are wrong! Or, more likely, you know better than everyone else, huh? Grow up!

Reality

August 24th, 2010
10:24 am

@GB – While you are right in that the Constitution allows the State to determine how they select their electorate, guess how ALL States do it? Guess. Just guess. Come on, you can do it.

I hope that you can guess correctly. Because the States select their electorate based on THE POPULAR VOTE of that State!!!!!

Get a clue.

DawgDad

August 24th, 2010
10:28 am

Reality: You get all over GB personally but then you say Bush “stole” the election through the Supreme Court? That’s constitutional due process, buddy. Awful tempting to turn this around and say “You sound like an immature teenager with a chip on your shoulder.”

John Marshall Law

August 24th, 2010
10:28 am

John Marshall Law is also a description of the possible results of military junta that takes place exclusively in bathrooms.

Rafe Hollister

August 24th, 2010
10:35 am

A mosque, a community center, a cultural center, a victory shrine, or salt in the 9/11 wounds. Which is it? Whatever it is, it is inappropriate to build it there. Have you ever asked yourselves “why do they insist on building it there”. They are making a statement, that is why. No one says they don’t have the right, what they are saying is, in light of the feelings of the victims could you move it somewhere else more appropriate.

Libs, it seems to me are always the first to come to the defense of those being mistreated. However, you rise to defend Muslims, who regularly preach subjugation of women. They segregate their meetings and impose unequal treatment on women. I won’t even get into stoning, rape, divorce, etc. Liberals were the first to jump in and ask the Clinton administration to take action against David Koresh (sp) and the Krispy Christians because of alleged child abuse. We all know how that turned out, religious freedom, my arse. So, why all the love for the Muslims? Yes, They have the right under the Constitution, but you have the right to stick your head under a chainsaw, so do you?

John Marshall Law

August 24th, 2010
10:42 am

“Whatever it is, it is inappropriate to build it there.”

You’re right Rafe. Let’s bring back the vacant Burlington Coat Factory that was there or another strip joint. Those are much more “appropriate.”

Palin fan

August 24th, 2010
10:43 am

Putting a mosk on the hollowed-ground at ground 0 is very disrespectful to our country who is still heeling from the wounds of 9/11.

Rafe Hollister

August 24th, 2010
10:44 am

John Marshall Law: Coats and nekid women did not bring down the Twin Towers.

Wiley

August 24th, 2010
10:52 am

“@ Wiley – What business is that of yours? I pay for my retirement, thank you very much. What difference does that make to the current topic?”
You brought it up! I am playing liberal and sticking my minority business into the mix to terrorize the majority. Oh and you only invest in your retirement. A small portion at that.

G'Vegas Dawg

August 24th, 2010
11:25 am

Rafe – good points. If the people who are so quick to defend this mosque would take just a second to slow down and use rational sense they may just see the problem here. CT’s blog the other day was about Dr. Laura and her use of the “n” word. The constitution gives her, and anyone else, the right to use that hurtful word as much as they please. Is it legal? Absolutly. Does it raise the question of good common sense? Yes. There is no dofference here. There are 100’s of mosques in NYC today. Is there really a need for another one? Only if there is a need for one mosque for every Starbucks. Our government wants to preach tolerance to us. Should religious tolerance not work both ways? There are no Christian churches in the Islamic countries, nor are there synagogus (sp), or any other places of worship. Christians and Jews are not even allowed inside Mecca (sp). And to top it all off the people who are plannig this project refuse to disclose where the $$ is coming from. This is clearly a slap in the face by the radical Islamic population. There is no rhyme or reason for the timing or location of this project.

Reality

August 24th, 2010
1:14 pm

@Wiley – Um no. You are wrong. You don’t know me. You don’t know where or how I work. I fund my retirement 100%. I do not pay in to Social Security. Again, it is none of your business and has nothing to do with this topic.

blind ignorance

August 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

@G’Vegas Dawg – Your argument against the mosque is full of logical fallacies. Your saying that the government is trying to preach religious tolerance to the people of the United States. Is that really a bad thing? I cannot think of the last time that I was upset with someone for allowing me to freely practice my religion, nor the last time that i was upset with an individual being tolerance of my religion. Your saying that there are no churches or Jewish temples in Islamic countries. Okay there are very few I will happy grant you that. But what does that have to do with America? We are not a Christian country that doesn’t allow other religious structures to exist inside our borders. You are confusing rational and emotional thought. Don’t be so quick to write off your ideals as fact and your thoughts as logical argument.

John Mann

August 24th, 2010
1:53 pm

While I appreciate and respect Mr. Barr’s opinion, I disagree with one point; I do not believe James Madison would weep because of our current national issues. Instead, I believe President Madison would be as proud of the United States and our progress since his death in 1836 as I am. This country and our constitution has survived a civil war, numerous economic crises, and prevailed against international enemies of enormous power and natural resources. We ended slavery and recognized women and all people of color as citizens with the right to vote. I am especially proud of progress this country made in the 20th century with the end to child labor, health and safety protection for workers, protection of our water, air, and wildlife, and creation of the national forests and national parks. As a witness to the struggle for universal civil rights for all Americans, I understand that this progress would not have been possible without both the U.S. Constitution and great American people committed to lawful change without violence.
I am proud to be an American benefitting from the wisdom and leadership of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and all our founding fathers. And I am proud of the United States, with all of its political scoundrels, there are still plenty of American heroes and great every-day Americans to make this the best country on earth.

sevgen

August 24th, 2010
2:39 pm

For those of you who consider yourselves Americans and therefore special cases who should be exempted from many of the obligations laid upon us normal, everyday people on the street, such as forced purchasing of health care insurance, have you ever heard of EMTAL? If you haven’t, Google it. That’s right. Just type it in. It is the reason for forced insurance. Basically, it says that in an emergency, you cannot be turned away from any medical facility in these United States. No matter the cost.

If you’re among those who are adamant about not participating, the rest of us consider you would-be thieves and me-first human beings trying to get just one more freebie out of a life that has already been blessed beyond all imagining. Man how I wish we could repeal EMTAL, allow you not to buy insurance, and then refuse you treatment when you showed up at someone’s ER in dire need of life-saving care and intervention!

I suppose we could make an exception in your cases–if you are able to pre-pay–in cash and in full.

G'Vegas Dawg

August 24th, 2010
3:29 pm

Ignorance – When, in my reply did I say that religious tolerance was a bad thing? I didn’t. Don’t assume that I feel one way just becuase YOU think I do. All I said was that it should work BOTH ways. You ask what that has to do with America, so I’ll break it down for you. NYC is in America, right? This mosque will be in NYC, which as we just learned is in…..America. This mosque will be commerated on 9-11, a day that will always be remembered as tragic to most AMERICANS. I am not confusing rational with emotional, just factual. America IS a Christian country that allows other religions to practice within our borders. Fact. Being tolerent is defined as able to withstand or endure an adverse environmental condition. Being tolerent does not mean that one must ACCEPT others views. I am entitled to my opinion just like you are yours. You know and I know that this mosque is not about religious freedoms. It is about rubbing salt in a wound that will never heal. It is about time that the USA stands up to the same religioin that murdered so many innocent people 9 years ago.

Barring Logic

August 24th, 2010
8:30 pm

@G’Vegas Dawg – Huh? You are still way misguided and freely loose with your statements. Again, this is not a Mosque. There is no dome on the building. There will not be calls to worship from this place.

It is a Community Center. Yes, there is a prayer room within it. But, the fact remains that it is not the definition of a Mosque.

Get over at least that part of the issue.

Also, America is not a Country that supports one religon over another. That is a fact. The government is supposed to be blind to religion. This means that it should not matter if Obama is a Jew, Catholic, Muslim, or Hindi.

And, the government should not dictate where a religion builds its buildings – and this includes the Muslim Community Center.

You are too funny. You seem to already know when the dates when this place will be open? Really? And, who cares if it is 9/11.

You are an irrational person and seem way more dangerous than any Muslim that I know.

Mary Crockett

August 25th, 2010
4:11 pm

CT, the “CONSTITUTIONAL STATE”, has been attacked by the federal C.I.A.!
In a new version of HOLOCAUST, C.I.A. simply ignores the CT prohibition against
SURVEILLANCE and ignores CT CRIMINAL LAWS prohibiting theft of electricity,
and simply uses the electricity to delivery ELECTROMAGNETIC SIGNALS carrying
auditory signals combined with hideous burns and pains and blisters on CT electrical
lines to the private homes of ordinary home-owing citizens. The C.I.A. was “outed”
years ago my Julianne McKinney, the first Administrator of the NSA/CIA program
invented by Bush and kept flush with public funds ever since.
We desperately need BORDC BILL OF RIGHTS DEFENSE COMMITTEE to provide
ATTORNEYS willing to shut down this new Holocaust which is spreading to every
state and country.

hdhd

August 30th, 2010
1:17 pm

No mention of Bob’s “Yea” vote for the Patriot Act. Hmmm……