Archive for the ‘Bill of Rights’ Category

Real World Graduation: Question 21

RealWorldGraduation_Question_21   <– PDF

The Mayor and City Council of a certain city desired to raise the amount of tax revenue received by the city. They made a secret arrangement with a mall developer as follows:

  1. The city would designate a certain district of the city, consisting of 150 homes and a few small businesses as suitable for development. This district was selected because most of the homes are more than 30 years old, and it has excellent access to major freeways.
  2. With the area so designated, the city would send notices to each homeowner and business owner that they had 90 days to move out of their homes, and the land turned over to the developer.
  3. In order to save taxpayers money, the city would offer 85% of the current appraised values of the homes and businesses as compensation. On average, the homes in the affected district are appraised at $130,000.
  4. The total amount paid to the homeowners by the city as compensation would be repaid by the developer. He would be allowed to collect an additional 2% surcharge sales tax on everything sold by stores in the mall. That way, the city would be repaid the amount given to the original homeowners, and also collect all the usual sales taxes.
  5. The Mayor, City Council, and their respective staff members were to do all of the foregoing without any public hearings or notices until the formal designation letters were mailed to each affected resident.

The Constitution of the state in which this was to occur contains a “takings” clause, in which people are to be compensated for any seizure of property devoted to public use (i.e., the same as the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment). If this plan were enacted, which of the activities contained in the secret plan would violate both Constitutions?

a) A government entity entering into a secret financial agreement with a private entity.

b) Seizing property from a group of private owners and giving it to another private owner for the benefit of the new private owner (as well as the city).

c) Arbitrary designation of a certain district for unusual treatment simply because of the age of the homes and their location.

d) Forcing each homeowner to take a $19,500 loss on their property, since they will be paid only $110,500 for homes that were appraised on average for $130,000.

e) All of the above.

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, government powers, living constitution, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 19

RealWorldGraduation_Question_19   <– PDF

Suppose a prominent black civil rights leader had made public speeches like these in 1993:

a.  “Only after the white virus destroying the quality of life of black people has been eliminated can we hope to promote cooperation between the remaining races, which will then be founded on a common understanding.”

b.  “Honkie parasites on one hand ripped off the black people without a second thought, and on the other hand instigated people of color to violence. The misfortunes of black people have become a continuing objective for these white trash crackers, and it was unfortunately made possible because of the large number of desperate unemployed black people that mistakenly supported the international trade treaties, which further benefitted the rich honkies.”

What is the proper amount of government regulation or actions that should be adopted to address speech of this sort?

a) Public speeches of this sort should first be subject to review by qualified people to determine if they are acceptable for public consumption. If a proposed speech is considered acceptable, then the speech could be made.  However, neither of these two fragments is acceptable, and both should be prohibited.

b) These fragments are obviously racist, and should be prohibited by appropriate legislation.

c) These fragments indicate both racism and mental illness, and the person who made these statements should be examined to determine his mental health. If he is found to be of sound mind, he should be prosecuted for racism or hate speech.

d) The person making these statements should be prosecuted for hate speech unless he can prove he is mentally ill and therefore not responsible for what he says.

e) Because of the First Amendment, it is difficult to pre-empt speech solely because some find it objectionable. For radical opinions like these, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but the government should consider some appropriate remedy, tailored to specific cases.  However, such remedies should be civil (i.e., fines and restrictions) instead of criminal (imprisonment).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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A View of the Islamic State

A View Of The Islamic State  <– PDF version

The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), formerly known as an offshoot of Mr. bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization, continues to demonstrate that they are incapable of any semblance of civilized conduct in either peace or war.   It has thus far conquered and controls an area bridging both Syria and Iraq encompassing about 12,000 sq. miles, more or less.  It has seized military equipment from the Iraqi army (which fled the scene); this is the same U.S. equipment left behind after the Iraq war, supposedly for Iraqi self-defense.  It has captured and then summarily executed numerous Syrian army personnel.  It has beheaded an American journalist, James Foley, and displayed the video on the internet.  It has forced many thousands of people which adhere to Christianity and the Yazid religion from their homes under pain of “conversion to Islam or death”.   Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, (formerly a resident of the Guantanamo Bay prison) has claimed that IS intends to establish a worldwide Islamic Caliphate, and that the organization’s symbolic black flag will one day fly over the White House.  Some American commentators have suggested that IS constitutes an “existential threat” to the U.S. and must be defeated, preferably with a coalition, but by the U. S. alone if necessary.  That would require land forces in both Syria and Iraq, something the American people are not prepared to support.  President Barack “I lied, period” Obama, leading with his behind as usual, has ordered a series of minor air strikes against IS forces scattered in Iraq, but recently admitted he has no strategy to deal with IS in general.

If the dictionary definition of words matters anymore, I am doubtful the IS could actually conquer America.  It could launch some internal attacks, disrupt some segments of the economy temporarily, and put a scare into the weak-minded.  Those attacks would encourage any Islamic jihad sympathizers already here, and may cause a rush of more such supporters over our non-existent southern border.  Naturally the American politicians would use those attacks to justify further encroachments upon the liberties of Americans, as they did after the 11 Sep 2001 attacks.  This last characteristic is the true threat from IS.

However, IS may well constitute an existential threat to some nations in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon, and of course, the ultimate prize, Israel.  King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has addressed the threat posed by the IS, stating [1]:

“If we ignore them [IS], I am sure they will reach Europe in a month andAmericain another month.  … You see how they carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street.  …  It is no secret to you, what they have done and what they have yet to so.  I ask you to transmit this message to your leaders: ‘Fight terrorism with force, reason, and (necessary) speed.’ “

Fine speech, Your Majesty, fine speech indeed.  So, Your Majesty, tell us dumb Yankees how many divisions of heavy armor, how many infantry divisions, and how many squadrons of fighters and bombers has the mighty kingdom of Saudi Arabia committed to fighting IS?  None.  How many divisions and squadrons have been committed to fighting IS by the other nations at risk mentioned above?  Zero.  There won’t be any, not now, and not ever.  How many of the principal clerics of the above Moslem nations have issued a fatwa against IS?  None; they never have and they never will.  Why is that?

There are two reasons.  First, IS is what you get when Islam, the “religion of peace”, is no longer constrained by secular dictators or tyrannical monarchs.  Since the above named nations are devoted to Islam, they probably support the goal of IS, but would like to avoid being its victims.  King Abdullah conveniently forgot to mention that the official religion of his nation, the Wahabbi (Salafi) form of Sunni Islam, is the ideological force behind IS, al-Qaeda, and other jihadists worldwide.  What they really want is a kinder, gentler IS, chastened by limited American force, that will share power with the existing entrenched monarchs and dictators.  Second, the above-named nations have grown comfortable from the proceeds of the oilfields, and desire the Europeans and dumb Yankees to do their fighting for them in order to protect their delicate sensibilities.  In this way the Saudis and other Moslem nations can share in the global expansion of radical Islam with its attendant wealth, power, and underage girls without giving even the appearance of opposition to their Moslem brethren.  We shall see if Mr. Obama will take the bait.

[1]  “Saudi king warns West will jihadists next target”, 30 Aug 14,  http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-king-warns-west-jihadists-next-target-093701543.html

 

 

 

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Practical Gun Control (complete)

PracticalGunControl_complete   <== PDF version

Dear readers:

This post contains the full 8-part series on gun control.  Due to its length (33 pages), it is available only as a PDF.

Thanks for reading,

EDD

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Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, gun control, James Madison, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »