Friday, April 28, 2017
I did not realize the United States had so many scientists. They are flooding our streets in protest over climate change legislation or lack of legislation. I am willing to bet most of these “experts” have never seen a climate change model no less understand one. In fact, I am willing to bet over 90% of these scientific experts on our streets cannot do simple arithmetic without a calculator. No true scientist would take time off work to protest, they are busy and do not have time for this kind of nonsense. I will outline a few of the major issues with climate science. Science is not factual, but theories and hypothesis that have yet to be proven. Once something is true it becomes a reality (or as Liberals call it: “settled science”), but until that point it is all theories. Of course climate change believers would say this is a reality and is “settled science”. Maybe, maybe not, but all of the many catastrophic prognostications that have been predicted over the past half century have never come to fruition. This tells me that climate science is still a theory and not at all factual or “settled science”. Science hypothesis and theories are hardly accurate and rarely come to fruition. A scientist may go through hundreds if not more iterations of experiments before realizing their hypothesis is wrong before starting over with a new theory. Let me give a few simplistic science failures that we can all understand. Science said that women and blacks were inferior to white men. This is obviously incorrect. Science said that the offspring of intellectually challenged persons will have the same issues (100% of the time). This was wrong. In fact, scientific testimony in landmark cases led to discriminatory Supreme Court rulings in Dred Scott, Plessy, Bradwell, Mueller, and Buck that women, blacks, and the intellectually challenged were inferior persons. These were false scientific realisms that a majority of the country held as factual based on scientific theories that have long been found 100% inaccurate and false. Present day science depends on who is doing the experiment. Ever wonder why we have seen scientific experiments with vastly different outcomes on the same subject? Coffee is good for you. Then coffee is bad for you. Fatty foods are bad for you. Fatty foods are not entirely bad for you. This happens every day when a new conflicting study surfaces. If the study is sponsored by a coffee company, well the result will be skewed to favor coffee. The initial fatty foods studies were paid for by sugar companies to blame fatty foods for the obesity problem. Now we are learning the truth and the real culprit is sugar. The same goes for climate change studies, there are not any independent ones to be found. This is a problem. Results in many scientific studies are wrong because they do not use a correct sample size to ensure their results will be accurate up to a certain percentage such as a 95% confidence level. Models are great, but even the best ones have an accuracy associated with it. They are only so good. Case in point, weather models. They have gotten much better, but very rarely will a weather model correctly predict the temperature, wind speed, and moisture in a specific location a mere 24 hours in advance. Models are made by humans and therefore only take so many variables into account, but in scientific studies such as weather and climate the number of variables are infinite. Consider if climate change is man-made, what do people propose we do about it? Are we that dumb to think that moving to renewable energies will solve the problem? I have yet to hear a viable solution other than taxing citizens more and having citizens pay more for energy. If money is the solution, there is not enough money in universe to stop climate change (man-made or otherwise). Climate change is a global issue, it is not localized to the U.S. It does not matter what the U.S. does without every single country on board with a viable solution (not this renewable energy nonsense). What we need is one of these hypocritical scientists protesting on the street to shut up and find a solution. If you are incapable of finding a solution, go home and stop talking about something you cannot do anything about. I have always told people you have the right to complain, but only if you pose viable solutions. Go home and invent a smaller battery that can store more energy. Do something other than showing off your ignorance. Obviously if you think climate science is real, settled, factual, precise, and 100% correct, you know nothing about science. I feel sorry for these people, they do not realize they are an embarrassment to the human race. If these folks are our future, we have more serious issues than climate change.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Can President Trump withhold federal funding from sanctuary states and cities? I believe the answer to this question is not clear cut, so I will say the answer is yes and no. Let me try to explain my hedging. There is not a great deal of precedent by the Supreme Court under Spending Power (there is no doubt Congress has a great deal of authority under the Spending Clause), but a good case to investigate is the 1987 decision for South Dakota v. Dole. This was a bipartisan decision by the Court with conservative and liberal justices on both sides of the 7-2 decision. Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the majority opinion and Justices O’Connor and Brennan delivered dissenting opinions. The case involved Congress withholding highway transportation funds to the state of South Dakota unless they increased their drinking age to 21. At the time, 18 to 20 year olds could drink “near beer” (3.2% alcohol) in South Dakota. The Court held that Congress had the Constitutional authority to apply these types of coercive / encouragement spending regulations on states. Let’s evaluate the details the case. Rehnquist says “Congress may attach conditions on the receipt of federal funds” and Congress has the power “to further broad policy objectives by conditioning receipt of federal moneys upon compliance by the recipient with federal statutory and administrative directives.” In United States v. Butler (1936) the Court held Congress has the power “to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution.” In other words, the spending power of Congress can encompass powers not enumerated in the Constitution. Spending power is not unlimited however, there are four restrictions: first the legislation must pursue “the general welfare”; second the legislation must pursue its objectives unambiguously; third “the statute must be reasonably related to the purpose of the expenditure”; and finally “the legislation may not violate any independent Constitutional prohibition”. The federal condition for South Dakota was seen to meet the “general welfare” because it tries to prevent drunk driving fatalities on federal highways. The condition in the legislation was not ambiguous because it was clearly defined. The federal grants are legitimate because they relate to one purpose – “safe interstate travel”. Since the amount of federal funds being withheld was only about 5%, the law was not seen as coercive, but instead as encouragement for states to raise the drinking age: “encouragement to state action found in this statute is a valid use of spending power.” In Massachusetts v. United States (1978): “The federal interest in particular national projects or programs” can have spending requirements attached to the funding. Justice O’Connor was not convinced that point three is met: the legislation must be related to the federal funding. She does not feel “safe interstate travel” and the drinking age condition are “reasonably” related. As O’Connor says: “Rather than a condition determining how federal highway money shall be expended, it is a regulation determining who shall be able to drink liquor.” United State v. Butler (1936) was the “last time this Court struck down an Act of Congress as beyond the authority granted by the Spending Clause.” The Court held that the FDR Agriculture Adjustment Act was “an exercise of regulatory (Commerce Clause), not spending power.” The Butler Court held the Spending Clause does not give “power to Congress to tear down the barriers, to invade states’ jurisdiction, and to become a parliament of the whole people, subject to no restriction save such as are self-imposed.” The Trump administration would have to be careful in how it words a law restricting money to a sanctuary city. I do not believe Trump can simply strip all funding going to cities because it depends on what the money is being used for. For instance, if federal money is going to education and that money is being used to support the education of illegal aliens then part of that money be withheld, but they need to word everything carefully and do their due diligence in gathering data on much illegal aliens use federally funded money given to cities. What makes this process complicated is that each sanctuary state and city may use federal funding differently. I noticed a lot of federal funding goes to “head start” educational programs. If illegal aliens use these head start programs then I believe it is okay to limit funding by the amount that illegal aliens use the program. I do not know if a court would grant Trump the right to withhold all monies for programs even if they are partially used by illegal immigrants. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M 2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford 3. Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State 4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU 5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams): Jamal Adams, S. LSU 6. New York Jets: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina 7. San Diego Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State 8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford 9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee 10. Buffalo Bills: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama 11. New Orleans Saints: Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama 12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles): Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech 13. Arizona Cardinals: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson 14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan 15. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple 16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson 17. Washington Redskins: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn 18. Tennessee Titans: Jonathon Allen, DT, Alabama 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: John Ross, WR, Washington 20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin 21. Detroit Lions: TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin 22. Miami Dolphins: Forest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky 23. New York Giants: David Njoku, TE, Miami 24. Oakland Raiders: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida 25. Houston Texans: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame 26. Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah 27. Kansas City Chiefs: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan 28. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri 29. Green Bay Packers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan 31. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt 32. New Orleans (From New England): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Friday, April 21, 2017
My neurological condition does not enable me to train very long for endurance, about 2.5 hours maximum before pain and cramping become unbearable. Hence, I tend to train in shorter time intervals, but more intensely than others. Most days when I ride, I ride hard and try to put some stress or suffering on the body for at least some portion of the ride. My weekly rides consist of a 38 mile ride up and back from Cottonwood Pass (12,126 feet from 8,000) feet in 2:05:00 to 2:25:00; or I do two or three hill repeats up a 2.4 mile 850 foot climb as hard as I can do them; or I will do a time trial over a variety of terrain (flat 5K sprints, 10.7 mile 700 feet, or 22 mile 1,200 feet); or I do some sort of interval training on a low incline (30 second to 10 minute intervals). I also try to schedule a Time Trial race (or some other race: road race, criterium, or hill climb) each week. I try to do a personal best most days training and all days racing. I generally have 1 to 2 easy rides and at least 1 day off each week. When I race, I make sure that I am so tired I cannot sprint for the finish. People that have enough energy to do an all-out sprint the final 250 meters or so had enough energy that could have been used to sustain higher speeds during the race. They did not suffer enough. I do not plan out a strategy for a race, I go as fast as I can which varies depending on the distance of the race. I have an average speed I try to attain for each race. I usually try to keep a steady pace but will attack going up hills a bit harder and pull back a bit on the downhill. My neurological condition makes it difficult for me to change speeds (my quick or fast muscle twitch in my quads is non-existent) and hence, I excel at getting up to speed and trying to maintain that pace. There have been many workouts and races where I have been in so much pain that I never thought I would finish, but that is part of the fun: to work through that adversity and suffering. To endure pain psychologically and or mentally I remind myself that there are so many people around the globe that are suffering much more than myself and I push on. In many regards I believe my neurological condition helps me endure more pain while I cycle. It is odd, but sometimes the pain I feel from my disorder masks the pain I should be feeling while I ride. On most rides my hands and feet are in lots of pain. I suffer from paresthesia in my hands and feet 24/7. And of course that condition worsens when I am on the bike. Usually my hands and feet will stay cold, but from time to time they will get hot and I suffer some neuropathy symptoms where my brain is actually telling my body that my feet are burning. It is so real that when I am done riding my feet are covered in blisters. The pain is so intense I cannot even remember struggling to get oxygen in my lungs during these rides, but I was going very fast. Pain is relative and we can never understand how much pain others are going through. I was abused as child and suffered many broken bones that were never treated; I wrestled in high school; and suffer from a painful neurological disorder whose primary symptom is exercise intolerance. Yet, some of the suffering I go through on a bike is worse than I have ever experienced. For this reason, I know my training is putting me through some extreme suffering. Some say you cannot put yourself through so much pain and not rest. However, my neurological condition never rests, I am going to be in pain one way or the other. I may as well feel “good” pain from exercising than the “bad” pain from my disorder. Sure, my cycling career may be short lived from the intensity of my workouts, but I am probably already on borrowed time with the neurological disorder. I was never a great athlete. In high school I was an average runner, below average wrestler, and average baseball and football player. I probably overachieved because I did not have any gifted athletic talent. Now, I am a well above average masters cyclists (time trial). How can that happen? I cannot explain it but I have some theories. It is not technology or equipment because everyone else has the best that money can buy. It is not my natural doping living at 8000 feet because everyone in Colorado has natural doping. Masters competition is a war of attrition and chance. First, you must survive that long. Second, you must remain relatively healthy and free from serious injury. Third, you must still have the desire to compete – most top competitors give up and retire from sports altogether when they are young. There is no question I meet all three of these requirements with the exception of the neurological disorder. The disorder has made it practically impossible to do any sports, including hiking (too much pain and cramping making recovery times several days to weeks), except to ride a bike or to walk at a moderate pace. The only explanation for my success is my ability to train my body to deal with pain and suffering for races. A few labs at UC Irvine conducted tests on me to better understand my physical makeup that makes me an anomaly. They discovered nothing to shed any light on the situation: why an average high school athlete can become a better masters’ athlete despite a debilitating neurological disorder? My only explanation is my desire to suffer when I train and race.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Most people, nowadays, rely on technology and data to improve their cycling performance. There is an electronic gadget for everything: Speed, RPMs (cadence), heart rate, and power. They even have indoor simulators which make boring rides more exciting. Of all these parameters, most people rely on power training data to improve performance. However, I am getting better and I do not rely on any of these things in my training. The one place I rely on technology is for equipment. Since the key to time trial racing is to be aerodynamic, it is important to have a good time trial bike, aero helmet, and low drag skin suit and shoe covers. Time trial racers look silly in what my wife calls our costumes, but the equipment does matter. Due to cost, I added one item at a time and saw significant time savings. The other place technology is important is to get professionally fitted on your bike every season. In time trials positioning on the bike is the most important aspect. However, some believe that being in the most aerodynamic position will improve race times, but that is not necessarily true. The most aerodynamic position will be very uncomfortable and it can make it harder to breathe and to maximize power and therefore, most riders slowly work their way into more aero positions each season as their body adjusts biomechanically. I am new to the sport so I have a great opportunity to improve whereas other riders who have been competitive for decades do not have as much room to grow (especially with age). But I have found training using a heart rate monitor, power meter, or cadence monitor does not really work for me, it tends to be analysis paralysis (I am an engineer, and have always found too much data can be detrimental). Knowledgeable people have said a high cadence is needed to go fast (the body saves energy by pushing an easier gear at a higher cadence than a harder gear at a lower cadence). My cadence is 5 RPM’s slower than last year (about 75), and I am going faster. Experts say riders should have a minimum cadence of 90. Experts also say older riders need more rest days to recover. However, I sleep worse on days off and my morning heart rate the day after a day off is much higher than if I exercised hard the day before. I take time off, but not as much as experts suggest. Experts claim a power meter and HR monitor are essential for training. I understand my heart very well and use average speed to understand how hard I am working instead of power meter. When I go to a race I do not have a threshold power to maintain, I have an average speed to maintain. After all, speed and placement are the two most important factors. Yes, I use technology, but only average speed as a training mechanism. Despite what experts say, my methods have worked for me. I find the most important thing to do to get better is to train hard by preparing the body through suffering to endure massive amounts of pain for races. I am in competition with myself each day of training or racing. If I can improve my times, I will get better. Yes, this is an old school training philosophy – it is as simple as that. Every study on pain indicates that highly competitive runners and cyclists can endure massive amounts of pain when compared to noncompetitive athletes. In fact, studies indicate athletes taking pain medication can improve their performance. Many Tour de France riders take pain medication. I do not recommend this for amateur cyclists riding much shorter distances. I take Ibuprofen most nights, but that is to deal with pain for a neurological disorder. I do not take it during the day because it has bad side effects such as making the user drowsy and tired and it can therefore, have a negative effect on your riding. The bottom line is these studies prove that dealing with pain is the key to performance. People may have a low metabolic age or a very high VO2 max, but that does not mean they will be top performers. If you cannot endure pain and suffering while training, you cannot succeed especially in time trials. In a time trial racers start in 30 second intervals and therefore, riders do not know how fast other riders are going. This means there is no time to relax. A time trial is a maximum effort of speed and or power which riders can endure for the entire distance of the race. Time trials are short (5K to 40K or about 6:30 to 55:00 minutes depending on conditions), but riding for nearly an hour at maximum power and a heart rate at 95+% of its maximum is pure torture. One reason I do not need technology when I race is because I automatically get my heart rate up to 95% of maximum. Several years of data proved this fact, and hence I do not rely on my heart rate monitor anymore.
Friday, April 14, 2017
5. Warren did not ask for term limits but said “A Senate chosen for six years will, in most instances, be an appointment for life”. She was right on this point even after the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment which placed the election of Senators in the hands of the people and out of State Legislatures. Presently, there are 14 Senators who have been in office for at least 36 years and there have been 109 Senators in U.S. history to serve that long (Remember a Senator must be at least 30 years old to hold office and life expectancies did not go above 70 until the 1940s). Warren suggests that all serving Congressmen (House and Senate) serve 1 year terms. She writes “There is no provision for a rotation, nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done”. Shorter terms “keeps the mind of man in equilibrium, and teaches him the feelings of the governed, and better qualifies him to govern in his turn”. She writes further “and that annual election is the basis of responsibility, - Man is not immediately corrupted, but power with limitation, or amenability, may endanger the brightest virtue”. It is interesting how Warren already understands how money and power in government corrupts politicians. She also takes issue with “As the new Congress are empowered to determine their own salaries”. Furthermore, Warren notes “Passion, prejudice, and error, are characteristics of human nature …” hence there will be those “who betray the rights of the people, under the specious, and popular pretense of justice, consolidation, and dignity”. Therefore, she contends “vesting discretionary power in the hands of man, which he may, or may not abuse” is a huge risk because she notes Hamilton writes in the Federalist papers “that no form of government is perfect” but “we had nothing to fear”. Warren could not have predicted the abuses of present day corruption and lobbying in Washington, but once again, Warren’s concerns were much closer to reality than Hamilton’s. 6. Warren was against a standing army. “It is hoped this country may yet be governed by milder methods than are displayed beneath the banners of military law”. She fears armies “may be sent into foreign countries for the fulfilment of treaties”. Once again Warren is correct. America has intervened throughout history time and time again in foreign wars with the hope of obtaining a “peace”. Sometimes it has worked while other times it has failed. I disagree with Warren’s view (we do need a strong military), but she is correct in the fact that the U.S. has meddled in many conflicts that we should have avoided. 7. Warren’s most passionate argument against the Constitution is that a Federal government would infringe on state rights. Warren writes “annihilating the individual governments, and drawing blood from every pore by taxes, and imposing illegal restrictions”. She makes similar statements throughout the document: “annihilated the sovereignty and independence of the individual governments” or “the annihilation of the independence of the thirteen distinct states” or “ultimately to destroy the state governments, and offer a consolidate system …” Warren disputes the fact Americans need a federal government at all: “that we are incapable of enjoying our liberties – and that we must have a master.” This may have been Warren’s greatest fear and it certainly came to fruition. Even with the Tenth Amendment added to the Bill of Rights to protect the sovereignty of state rights, it is easy to argue that once the Constitution was ratified the states lost their sovereignty. In the 1920 tenth amendment case, Missouri v. Holland Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes brought forth the idea of a “living constitution”. This means the constitution can change as the justices see fit. The idea of a “living constitution” has yielded more federal power at the expense of the states. Besides, it is easy to trump the tenth amendment through congressional legislation on the basis of the “Supremacy Clause”. The sovereignty of states has been dwindling with each passing day. There is no Constitutional power for the federal government to control education, the environment, health, agriculture or energy but they have encroached on State power or sovereignty to dominate these issues. 8. Warren concludes that “One Representative to thirty thousand inhabitants is very inadequate representation…” She also states “It will be allowed by everyone that the fundamental principle of a free government is the equal representation of a free people.” Today, there is about 1 Representative in Congress for every 800,000 people and that number is growing rapidly each year (almost 30 times greater than back in 1800). That is a valid point: Do wealthy lawyers (over 75% of Congress) represent the needs of the people today? I should say not: Politicians are truly out of touch with reality. 9. Warren further contends that requiring only 9 of 13 states for ratification of the Constitution is wrong (it should be unanimous). She also has an issue with how fast the ratifying process was moving: “And the hurry with which it has been urged to the acceptance of the people, without giving time, by adjournment, for better information, and more unanimity has been deceptive in appearance”. This point is analogous to the passage of ObamaCare. It was not only done fast and in a partisan way, but no one even read the law. Just as ObamaCare was unpopular, Warren contends “the voice of the people appears at present strong against the adoption of the Constitution.” Despite this sentiment, state officials in 11 states ratified the Constitution. Warren contends that “Self-defense is a primary law of nature” and it is the right of every American to “resist the first approaches of tyranny” – just like the ObamaCare fight which has been going on for nearly 8 years.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Warren made the following suggestions for Amendments to be added to the Constitution that make up our Bill of Rights: The rights of conscience (freedom of speech and freedom of religion) and the liberty of the Press (the First Amendment); the right to trial by jury for civil cases (a clause in our Sixth Amendment); and for warrants to avoid illegal search and seizures (these two ideas are the basis for the Fourth Amendment). Warren suggest that “The rights of individuals ought to be the primary object of all government …” She also said: “that man is born free and possessed or certain unalienable rights – that government is instituted for the protection, safety, and happiness of the people, and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any man, family, or class of men – That the origin of all power is in the people….” However, government officials routinely neglect our Bill of Rights. Instead, as Warren rightly points out “to betray the people of the United States, into an acceptance of a most complicated system of government; marked on the one side with the dark, secret and profound intrigues, of the statesman, long practiced in the purlieus of despotism; and on the other, with the ideal projects of young ambition, with its wings just expanded to soar to the summit, which imagination has painted in such gaudy colors as to intoxicate the inexperienced votary, and to send him rambling from State to State, to collect materials to construct the ladder of preferment.” Warren is basically saying that politicians will do what is best for them and their careers and they care little for the people they represent. Warren was truly a prognosticator over potential issues she found within the writings of the Constitution: 1. She discussed how the Judiciary powers have “no well-defined limits”. This is contrary to Hamilton’s view in the federalist papers which declared the Supreme Court has very little power. Over time Warren has been proven to be right, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful branch of our government because they have given themselves the power to legislate. The Court does not just make decisions as to whether or not legislation is Constitutional, they write new rights into the Constitution without properly amending the document. Warren declared “in short the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Federal Court, includes unwarrantable stretch of power over the liberty, life, and property of the subject, through the wide Continent of America.” She is right, in many cases the Court refuses to make decisions based on the law but over socioeconomic issues they have no business being involved over. The Court has endless power with Substantive due process to incorporate anything into the Constitution their imagination desires. 2. Warren was right when she wrote “from the extent of country from north to south, the scheme of one government is impractical.” In 1788, she was right and the Civil War proved it. The United States was one of the biggest countries in the world and without technology or mass transportation methods Warren was correct to say that just one government to control everything would be difficult, especially in our infancy. This explains why in the first 70 years of American Independence several states threatened to succeed from the Union including Massachusetts and South Carolina. 3. Warren wrote “The Executive and the Legislative are so dangerously blended …” and this so true when one party controls both branches and there are no checks and balances. Take Obama’s first two years in office that included the partisan passing of the stimulus and ObamaCare. We’ll see how Trump does in his first two years with a Republican Congress. 4. On taxes Warren wrote “The exigencies of government require that the collectors of the revenue should transmit it to the Federal City”. She further noted that “Every source of revenue is in the monopoly of Congress”. In other words, Warren could foresee high Federal taxes at the expense of the states. This became a reality since the Supreme Court ruling in McCulloch v. Maryland case in 1819 to the present time.
Friday, April 7, 2017
To some, the criteria to be a founding mother is to be a spouse of a founding father. If that is the case, strong arguments for the greatest founding mother can be made for Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Deborah Franklin. All three were strong women who ran the family farms or businesses as their husbands ventured overseas. Deborah Franklin even did Ben’s job: Postmaster General of the United States. Of these three women, to me, the clear choice as the greatest founding mother would be Abigail Adams. Abigail was John’s best and probably only advisor when he was President. One of John’s biggest mistakes was keeping most of Washington’s cabinet choices in his administration. No chemistry formed with any of these cabinet members and he therefore consulted his wife for all his tough decisions. Abigail supported many of John’s best decisions such as working out a peace treaty with France to avoid war (something many of his cabinet members disagreed with) and of course she was active in some of his worst decisions such as the passing of the Aliens and Seditions Act (of course Congress passed it so it was not just a bad decision by John and Abigail). In many regards, our second president was not John, but Abigail Adams. That being said, it seems ridiculous to limit our founding mothers options to spouses of founding fathers. Independent women also made a huge impact during the Revolutionary War and Constitutional era. For this reason, the woman that made the biggest impact on the Revolutionary War and the drafting of our Constitution is without doubt Mercy Otis Warren. Like Abigail, Mercy was born and bred in Massachusetts. She was a correspondent and advisor to many key political figures including Sam Adams, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and of course Abigail Adams. Before 1790 most of her work was published under surnames to hide her identity since women mingling in politics was mostly considered taboo. She published many poems and plays that were propaganda used to promote the anti-British and anti-Loyalist agenda during the Revolutionary War. She was regarded as among the most influential writers of the Revolutionary War. In 1772 she published a satire play called The Adulateur; in 1775: The Group; in 1776: The Blockheads; and 1779: The Motley Assembly. After the War she published several more plays in 1790: The Sack of Rome and The Ladies of Castille. Also in 1790 she published a book of poems called “Poems, Dramatic, and Miscellaneous”. In 1805, she published one of the first histories of the American Revolution in three volumes entitled: History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution. Interestingly, Warren did not portray John Adams very favorably in these books and that led to a temporary falling out between her and the Adams family. Of course Adams was a Federalist and Mercy Otis Warren was an anti-Federalist. Mercy Otis Warren’s biggest contribution to history was her anti-Federalist writing entitled: “Observations on the New Constitution, and on the Federal and State Conventions” in 1788. It was written under the surname “a Columbian Patriot” and it included her reasons as to why the recently drafted Constitution was bad for America. She hoped her writings and those of several other patriots would lead to the failure of ratifying the Constitution by at least 9 of the original 13 colonies. Some would argue, why would I chose as the greatest founding mother a women who was against our Constitution? The reason is simple. First, since the Constitution is vague at best, her writings forced Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to write the 85 Federalist Papers (500 pages of new information explaining the intent of the Constitution and its framers) to counter those points made by anti-Federalist such as Warren. Secondly, anti-federalist writings led to the Bill of Rights and the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. And finally, many of the fears that Warren discusses about the Constitution and the newly proposed federal government have come to fruition and can be observed through our present day government.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
In my previous article “Proof of Politics on the Court: The Establishment Clause”, I pointed out how, in general, the liberal sect of the Court wants to expand the meaning of the Constitution whereas, the conservative sect of the Court wants to limit the meaning of the Constitution to its original intent. The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of the free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” For most of history, the Second Amendment applied strictly to militias and the federal government, not the states. That changed with the landmark cases of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). In Heller, the Court held that a DC statute which prohibited the possession of handguns was unconstitutional. In this case, it was the conservative sect of the Court which used Substantive Due Process to elevate the fundamental right for each individual “the right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense” in particular in one’s home (in the modern era, it’s usually liberals who do this). Justice Scalia’s majority opinion goes to great lengths to show via a historical analysis around the founding era what the words used in the Second Amendment meant. Scalia theorized that the first and second parts of the Second Amendment are mutually exclusive. In other words, the Second Amendment can be read in two parts: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” stands alone as does “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. In the first part, Scalia believes that meaning of “State” is “nation” and the dissent believes it means each state in the Union. State is used in both contexts in the Constitution, but state meaning states in the union is most the popular context. In the second part of the Amendment, Scalia believes that meaning of “the people” means individual rights and not “collective rights”. The most popular use of “the people” in the constitution follows Scalia’s trend of though. The dissent, of course, disagrees. And of course, the dissent believes the two parts of the Second Amendment are implicit and belong together. One can argue that the liberal dissent is using more of a textual reading of the constitution than the conservative sect. In Troxel v. Granville (2000), Justice Scalia dissents. The majority held that it was a fundamental right for parents to make important decisions regarding the “upbringing of their children” (similar to those rights found in Meyer v. Nebraska - 1923). Although Scalia believes this fundamental right declared by the Court to be factual, but he also believes judges should not be identifying what rights are fundamental and which are not. Scalia discusses cases such as Meyer v. Nebraska (1923), Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), and West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1935) which elevated fundamental rights, stating “I would not overrule those earlier cases, neither would I extend the theory upon which they rested to this new context.” So can Scalia’s views in Heller be reconciled with Troxel? Sort of, since the founder’s intention in the second part of the Second Amendment is in the Constitution, it is not a reach to elevate it as a fundamental right. Scalia, clearly did not want to elevate rights not alluded to in the Constitution. Obviously, Scalia’s fundamental right of using handguns for self-defense is not as far a stretch as abortion being a fundamental right.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Some will argue that the Frankfurter “fair trial” approach was also flawed. First, his holding of “nonsuperfluousness” (due process meanings in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were identical) no longer held since the Court had already applied the First Amendment to the states. The Second argument against Frankfurter theories about protecting state federalism is that in Gideon 23 states wrote briefs to apply the Sixth Amendment to the states and only two states asked for it to be denied. This would seem to show that states wanted the Bill of the Rights applied to the states. The final argument was that the fair trial approach had no guidelines to follow. So was Frankfurter’s thinking flawed? First, Frankfurter’s theories were not nearly as flawed as Black’s. By 1947 the First Amendment was applicable to the states but the Court never applied any theory or explanation how that conclusion was reached. How could Frankfurter offer an exception to the “nonsuperfluousness” theory when no one could give him a reason for it? In 1937 Justice Cardozo stated in the majority decision for Palko that criminal procedure provisions of the Bill of Rights were not “of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty”. This may suggest that Cardozo on the other hand felt that the First Amendment was of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty. Or how James Madison wanted to hold three things to the states in an amendment: Right of conscience, press, and trial jury (2 out 3 suggest First Amendment freedoms over criminal procedure). This may be Frankfurter’s argument: The rights of the First Amendment were necessary to be applied to the states for liberty. Secondly, The federalism argument is an easy one to explain away. States were more advanced than the federal government criminal procedures. In fact, Supreme Court Bill of Rights nationalization decisions, in many cases, completely wiped off the books more stringent state laws and statutes. Finally, the “Fair Trial” system set boundaries such as “shocks the conscience” in Rachin. This is not much different than the liberal substantive due process decision held by the Court in Schenck v. United States when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes denied free speech in the case citing “clear and present danger”. The Frankfurter method did not legislate from the bench; it did not free dangerous criminals; it did not have unlimited boundaries using substantive due process; it did make social rulings based on no evidence; it did not have an agenda; and it was supported by some clear theories (nonsuperfluousness) as opposed to none for the selective nationalization of the Bill of Rights. To further understand how the liberal agenda works consider the Second Amendment case D.C. v. Heller decided in 2010. Liberals created all this precedent under the Warren Court that the Bill of Rights applies to the states. However, in Heller, the liberals of the Court voted against applying the Second Amendment rights to the states. Why? Because they do not like guns and want states to enforce gun control. Heller won by a narrow 5-4 decision to apply the Second Amendment to the states. Of course, maybe liberals are confused. In a presidential debate, Hillary Clinton, stated rejecting Heller was about keeping guns out of the hands of children. Heller was not about that, it was about whether gun rights in the Second Amendment applied to the states. Liberals have a way of introducing imaginary information into a case such as substantive due process. Liberals have no issue freeing guilty violent criminals with their decisions, but all the sudden they grow a conscience for gun rights. That is not how it works. The Citizens United case is another classic example of liberal hypocrisy. In this First Amendment case the court ruled that corporations, individuals, organizations, and groups can donate as much money to elections as they want based on the freedom of speech. In the past there was a cap or limit to campaign contributions. Liberals argue that corporations are not people and that money is not free speech. However, liberals helped push the precedent that corporations are people and applying the Bill of Rights not only to the states, but to show that the right of free speech includes freedom of expression starting with Stromberg and to further include cases such as flag burning. And money is used to express a person’s free speech more than anything on the planet to buy gifts and things people like. The most damning evidence against incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the states is the history of the Bill of Rights. First, Frankfurter is right, if the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment wanted the Bill of Rights to apply to the states, they had a really bad way of saying it. In Federalist 84 Hamilton argues against a Bill of Rights: A bill of rights is not needed for the Constitution since many individual and state rights are built into the Constitution such as not allowing a suspension of a writ of habeas corpus. Besides, Hamilton argues that by adding a bill of rights “they would contain various exceptions to powers not granted”. “Why declare that things shall not be done which is no power to do?” Hamilton further argues in Federalist 83 that many individual rights are already included in state constitutions and law such as trial by jury. He claims there is no trial by jury in the Constitution since each state has varying and unique interpretations on the subject such as some states allow trial by jury for criminal cases but not for civil ones and vice versa. State individual rights and laws were fair because they did not want what England did to them to ever occur again. In most cases, state rights were more stringent than the federal Bill of Rights. I am not completely opposed to applying the Bill of Rights to the states, however it is never enough when it comes to liberal interpretations and they do not stop there. Once the Bill of Rights applied to the states they continued with new personal interpretations of the law using what is called substantive due process to make up new rights. That is what I disagree with.