April 25, 2012

"The Constitution is wrong" How about the People's Rights Amendment?

The Constitution is your patrimony.  Be very aware of the people who want to amend it out of existence. 

Abraham Lincoln said,
"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

George Washington said,  “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon”

Sam Adams, “"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men."

Patrick Henry said,  “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

Henry Clay,  “The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity- unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity

Enter Jim McGovern, (D) US Representative from Worcester, MA., “The Constitution is wrong.”

Now he is sponsoring the People's Rights Amendment in what Jeff Jacoby calls a 'flawed war'

McGovern’s problem, it turns out, is with the Bill of Rights. He objects to the way it safeguards fundamental rights — such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances — not only when citizens act as lone individuals, but also when they unite as corporations in order to pool their assets and act more efficiently.

Like many on the left, McGovern has gone batty on the subject of “corporate personhood.” This is a perfectly commonplace, centuries-old legal construct that makes it possible for individuals organized as a group to carry out their affairs effectively. Because corporations are legal “persons,” for example, they can rent property without requiring the signature of every shareholder on every lease. They can be sued in court as single entities, without obliging plaintiffs to go after tens of thousands of individual defendants. They can be taxed. They can enter into contracts. They can register patents.

What infuriates many liberals is that corporations can also express political views, spending money to take sides in contested elections.  . “Corporations are not people,” scowled McGovern at a Democratic forum last week…..So the congressman proposes to strip corporations of all constitutional liberties and guarantees.
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Under McGovern’s proposal, corporations — for-profit and nonprofit alike —would have no more rights than legislators chose to give them. Congress could ban ExxonMobil and R.J. Reynolds from commenting on any public issue, and they would have no recourse to the First Amendment. But it isn’t only Big Oil and Big Tobacco that could be censored with impunity. So could Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association. So could the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and the Museum of Fine Arts. So could innumerable universities, charities, churches, small businesses, and government watchdogs. And so, of course, could most newspapers, magazines, TV networks, and book publishers. Corporations of every kind would lose their constitutional defenses. Vast swaths of American life would be permanently vulnerable to the whims and vendettas of politicians.

And what is true of First Amendment rights would be true of all the others: Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, due process under law, the right to trial by jury — corporations could be stripped of them all.

McGovern and Pelosi may honestly imagine that mutilating the Constitution in this way will make American democracy more wholesome and less corrupt. What it would really do is empower the political class to a degree never before seen in our history. Far from reinvigorating the dream of the Founding Fathers, the People’s Rights Amendment would transform it into a nightmare.

The National Review editorializes, Keep the First Amendment

The phrase “stunning development” is used far too often in our politics, but here is an item that can be described in no other way: Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats, frustrated by the fact that the Bill of Rights interferes with their desire to muzzle their political opponents, have proposed to repeal the First Amendment.

That is precisely what the so-called People’s Rights Amendment would do. If this amendment were to be enacted, the cardinal rights protected by the First Amendment — free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances — would be redefined and reduced to the point of unrecognizability. The amendment would hold that the rights protected by the Constitution are enjoyed only by individuals acting individually; individuals acting in collaboration with others would be stripped of those rights.
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The so-called People’s Rights Amendment would have some strange consequences: Newspapers, television networks, magazines, and online journalism operations typically are incorporated. So are political parties and campaign committees, to say nothing of nonprofits, business associations, and the like. Under the People’s Rights Amendment, Thomas Friedman would still enjoy putative First Amendment protection, but it would not do him much good inasmuch as the New York Times Company, being a corporation, would no longer be protected by the First Amendment. In short, any political speech more complex than standing on a soapbox at an intersection would be subject to the whims of Nancy Pelosi.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 PM | Permalink

Comparing the historicity of Muhammed and Christ

This is out of left field and fascinating.

Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany's first professor of Islamic theology has concluded that The Prophet Muhammed probably never existed,

When Prof. Kalisch took up his theology chair four years ago, he was seen as proof that modern Western scholarship and Islamic ways can mingle -- and counter the influence of radical preachers in Germany. He was put in charge of a new program at Münster, one of Germany's oldest and most respected universities, to train teachers in state schools to teach Muslim pupils about their faith.
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Prof. Kalisch, who insists he's still a Muslim, says he knew he would get in trouble but wanted to subject Islam to the same scrutiny as Christianity and Judaism. German scholars of the 19th century, he notes, were among the first to raise questions about the historical accuracy of the Bible.
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The earliest biography, of which no copies survive, dated from roughly a century after the generally accepted year of his death, 632, and is known only by references to it in much later texts.
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He was struck, he says, by the fact that the first coins bearing Muhammad's name did not appear until the late 7th century -- six decades after the religion did.
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He traded ideas with some scholars in Saarbrücken who in recent years have been pushing the idea of Muhammad's nonexistence. They claim that "Muhammad" wasn't the name of a person but a title, and that Islam began as a Christian heresy.

At the same time, Robert Spencer has come out with a new book, Did Muhammed Exist? I learned in a book review who lays out Spencer's evidence.

1.  There are no documents from the 7th and 8th centuries written by independent observers.
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2.  Even among Arabic documents and artifacts, there is no mention of or example of any Qur’anic text until the year 691, a full 80 years after Muhammad supposedly started dictating it, and 60 years after it was completed and purportedly became the central text of Arab society.
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3. The name Muhammad actually appears in the Qur’an only four times, and in three of those instances it could be used as a title — the “praised one” or “chosen one” — rather than as a proper name. By contrast, Moses is mentioned by name 136 times, and Abraham, 79 times. Even Pharaoh is mentioned 74 times. Meanwhile, “messenger of Allah” (rasul Allah) appears in various forms 300 times, and “prophet” (nabi), 43 times.
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4. While the Qur’an is nearly silent on Muhammad, the Hadiths — a sort of second-tier commentary on the Qur’an written much later but nonetheless regarded as sacred and authoritative Islamic texts — discuss Muhammad and his life in endless detail….none of which date from earlier than two centuries after Muhammad’s death.
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5. The earliest biography of Muhammad, upon which all subsequent biographies are based, was not written until a century after his death, in an era of few or no written records, when all potential eyewitnesses were long dead; and furthermore, that original biography is itself long gone, and all we have left is a much later copy, the author of which frankly confesses he left out all the embarrassing parts?
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Did Muhammad Exist? is essentially one big hoisting of Islam by its own petard. A religion that purports to be “revealed,” and perfect and unchanging from its inception, has a serious burden of proof; but as Spencer shows, Islam fails to supply that proof.

By contrast, the proof that Jesus really existed is overwhelming despite the fact that many, atheists in particular, dispute this.

Here you can find laid out extra-biblical sources for the historicity of Jesus Christ

Secular sources.  The Roman historians: Tacitus (55-120 AD), Suetonius (69-130AD),  Thallus (~52AD), Pliny the Younger (63-113 AD), Celsus (~178 AD), Lucian of Samosata (12-~180 AD)

Jewish evidence.  The Babylonian Talmud and the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote in Antiquities 18.63-64

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he . . . wrought surprising feats. . . . He was the Christ. When Pilate . . .condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared . . . restored to life. . . . And the tribe of Christians . . . has . . . not disappeared

Extra-Biblical (Christian) Evidence.  Clement of Rome (?~98AD), Ignatius of Antioch (? - ~ 100 AD), Quadratus of Athens (126 AD), Aristides the Athenian (126 AD), Justin Martyr (~100-165 AD), Hegesippus (110 AD - 180 AD)

The dates of the writing of the gospels was most likely prior to AD 70 when the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing and eyewitnesses were still around

Dating back from the Acts of the Apostles which was written about 62 AD

Gospel of Luke around 60 AD
Gospel of Mark, sometime in the 50s AD
Gospel of Matthew, the first gospel written in AD 41 according to Church father Eusebius by the apostle Matthew, an eyewitness.
Gospel of John  prior to 70 AD by the apostle John, an eyewitness.

Then there is the matter of prophecy.    There are none for Muhammed.  By contrast, the 300 Messianic prophecies were written by various prophets in the thousand years before Christ.

They spoke of a Messiah who would one day come to earth and walk among mankind. These prophecies mentioned
specific names, locations, and even the timing surrounding His appearance. The known date of completion for the
Old Testament writings is 430 B.C., so these prophecies were in circulation at least 430 years before the time of
Christ.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 PM | Permalink

Happiness Ascendant

An excerpt on happiness from Jerome Kagan's new book, Psychology's Ghosts as reviewed by Carol Tavris

In his second essay, "Happiness Ascendant," Mr. Kagan virtually demolishes the popular academic effort to measure "subjective well-being," let alone to measure and compare the level of happiness of entire nations. No psychologist, he observes, would accept as reliable your own answer to the question: "How good is your memory?" Whether your answer is "great" or "terrible," you have no way of knowing whether your memory of your memories is accurate. But psychologists, Mr. Kagan argues, are willing to accept people's answer to how happy they are as if it "is an accurate measure of a psychological state whose definition remains fuzzy."

Many people will tell you that having many friends, a fortune or freedom is essential to happiness, but Mr. Kagan believes they are wrong. "A fundamental requirement for feelings of serenity and satisfaction," Mr. Kagan says, is "commitment to a few unquestioned ethical beliefs" and the confidence that one lives in a community and country that promote justice and fair play. "Even four-year-olds have a tantrum," he notes, "if a parent violates their sense of fairness." His diagnosis of the "storm of hostility" felt by Americans on the right and left, and the depression and anomie among so many young people, is that this essential requirement has been frustrated by the bleak events of the past decades. War, corruption, the housing bubble and the financial crisis, not to mention the fact that so many of those responsible have not been held unaccountable, have eroded optimism, pride and the fundamental need to believe the world is fair.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:19 PM | Permalink

The world's oldest divorcees

99-year-old divorces wife after he discovered 1940s affair

An Italian couple are to become the world's oldest divorcees, after the 99-year-old husband found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s.

The Italian man, identified by lawyers in the case only as Antonio C, was rifling through an old chest of drawers when he made the discovery a few days before Christmas.

Notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the betrayal, he was so upset that he immediately confronted his wife of 77 years, named as Rosa C, and demanded a divorce.

Guilt-stricken, she reportedly confessed everything but was unable to persuade her husband to reconsider his decision.

She wrote the letters to her lover during a secret affair in the 1940s, according to court papers released in Rome this week.

The couple are now preparing to split, despite the ties they forged over nearly eight decades – they have five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great-grand child.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:03 PM | Permalink