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Paul's View

A closer look at the first two amendments to the Constitution

Bill of RightsSome recent events have made it an opportune time to take another look at the first two amendments to the Constitution.
Let's begin with the First Amendment. The First Amendment to the Constitution covers a great deal in very few words. Specifically it states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
If there is one word that is the most significant among the 44 words that comprise the amendment it is the word "Congress." The amendment is intended to prevent "Congress," and by Congress meaning the government, from enacting laws that would violate an individual's right to practice his or her religion or exercise his or her right to free speech, a free press, assembling peaceably, or petitioning the government.

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No room for aristocracy in today’s society

Anthony Andrews Scarlet PimpernelThere is no place for an aristocracy in our government. That concept was fairly well-established by our founding fathers. It is this well-established concept that makes the travel decisions by former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, so disturbing.
When you consider how he railed in 2009 against government use of private planes (granted, 2009 saw a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress, but still--!), and then, in 2017 chooses to spend in excess of $25,000 of taxpayer money to travel to Philadelphia from Washington via private jet, the operative word is likely “HYPOCRISY!”

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Turning rhetoric into action with results

FB IMG 1506084285680There are several reasons to point to as to why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald J. Trump.
The challenges we face as a nation, however, transcend the election of the most unfit and unqualified candidate ever to run for the office. Certainly it wasn't because of Donald Trump that Democrats lost the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010 or the majority in the Senate in 2014.
The dwindling of influence by the Democratic Party has evolved over years if not decades as is further evidenced by the fact that approximately two-thirds of the state houses and governorships are held by Republicans.
Certainly the gerrymandering of districts has contributed to this imbalance. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling commonly referred to as “Citizens United” which opened the door to big money influence in elections severely contributed to this imbalance of influence among the two major political parties.
So, you ask, what is the remedy? The aftermath of the election of 2016 unleashed pundit after pundit, advising that the Democratic Party must work from the “bottom up.”

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Who is the worst President in our history?

Trump Mocking Disabled ReporterMy vote for absolutely worst president in our country's history, to the surprise of no one who routinely reads this column, is none other than Donald J. Trump.
In a mere six months, this individual has been able to become the single greatest embarrassment this country has ever experienced. His inability to craft a coherent sentence with words beyond a third grade level is the least of our concerns.
Of greater concern, much greater concern, is the fact that the single-minded purpose of Trump is to simply undo all that was set in place by his immediate predecessor and, in so doing, undermine so many of the principles and ideals on which this nation was built.

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The Fed isn’t the enemy folks

constitution quill penPrivatization of the federal workforce was a goal of Ronald Reagan during his administration. He convened the Grace Commission to look into how best to do just that. Now, more than thirty years later, the number of contract employees compared to career federal employees approaches a five to one ratio.
Clearly, there are some benefits to contracting out some very skill-specific functions, but the value of a properly staffed and experienced federal workforce should not be taken lightly. Nor should a dedicated federal workforce that is sworn to uphold the Constitution and not the profit motive of the company winning a federal contract be something that is taken for granted.
Placing the burden of the federal deficit on the shoulders of the federal workforce is doing exactly that and is certainly not cost effective.

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Hindsight and the 2020 election

PhoropterThe 2020 presidential election seems like a far off event even though it cannot come soon enough. In politics, as we all know, it is never too late to speculate, especially when it comes to the Democratic candidate. Who should it be?
To answer that question we must first speculate who the Republican opponent will be. Yes, it is likely that it would be the current president, but, unlike most previous elections, incumbency is certainly no guarantee.

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From Russia with love…

From Russia With Love switchblade shoeI will readily admit that I was never under the impression that Donald Trump personally coordinated with Russian counterparts to influence the 2016 presidential election and hand him the White House. However, I am convinced of the following three key points: (1) it is likely that certain members of the Trump campaign did, indeed, do just that, (2) Trump does have definite financial ties to Russian entities that go back decades and are problematic for various reasons, and (3) to prevent both items one and two above from being exposed for all to see, Trump did attempt to impede and obstruct the investigations underway to determine the levels of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Further, by doing so he continually obstructs a critical step in preventing the recurrence of this influence in future elections.

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Dear young American little girl

Charottlesville 2Dear America,
What a beautiful name for, I am sure, a beautiful young lady. I received your letter asking me why I thought there is so much hatred and violence in our country.
It was a very thoughtful letter and I will attempt to provide you with an equally thoughtful response.
In my opinion the person most responsible for the very visible and blatant instances of hatred in America is none other than former President Barack H. Obama.
It seems to me that when this nation elected its very first African-American president there was a rather large segment of our society that just could not bring itself to have an African American in the White House as our president.
This segment of society sought a leader to lead them and their hatred out of the shadows and into the mainstream. They found that leader in none other than game show host Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump, you may recall, was the leader of what is now known as the birther movement which questioned President Obama's birthplace and, in so doing, questioned his legitimacy to the presidency.

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Casting Call for “Trump: The Movie”

child movie director3There is absolutely no doubt that after the current national disaster that is the Trump presidency mercifully comes to an end, and it will, there will be a movie made about this embarrassing episode in American history. I am not talking about a Michael Moore documentary of which there certainly will be one. I am talking big Hollywood production by a Scorsese or Coppola or Spielberg with a star-studded cast.

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The enlightenment of the Charlottesville riot

Lee Park Charlottesville VACharlottesville, Virginia is a beautiful city. I recall quite vividly taking my children there to visit Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, a true Renaissance man. It was quite an “enlightening” experience for us to say the least.
The word “enlightening” can also be used to describe the events in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12th which resulted in an innocent protester allegedly having her life snuffed out by a white supremacist.
The history of heinous acts inflicted on this country by white supremacists can be traced back decades if not centuries and includes lynchings and goes all the way through such events as the Charleston Church massacre and now Charlottesville.
The enlightenment to which I am referring is the hopeful enlightenment of the portion of the electorate that placed Trump in the presidency. It is enlightenment to his clear leanings toward white supremacy as evidenced by so many of his policy positions including Muslim bans and Mexican wall building.

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