The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

...truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. Thomas Jefferson
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John Liming - American Liberal Times

The Constitution And Religion!

The First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

There seems to be some misconceptions about what The First Amendment actually means and it is being interpreted in various and sundry ways by all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.

It looks to me like there are some people out there who have an agenda to actually re-write the Founding Documents for their own purposes–whatever those might be.

If one studies the Constitution and if one goes to some authoritative source (Not a source that has fallen under the ax of some Radical Conservative Revisionist), it becomes clear that this amendment is not a free license for doing whatever comes to mind in the name of religious freedom– as some would have us believe.

If I were to listen to some of the arguments being proposed by some of the Constitutional Crazies that I have encountered from time to time, I might get the notion in my head that this amendment means that I can run around the woodlands, stark naked and practice cannibalism in the name of Freedom of Religion.

But I am fairly certain that the First Amendment does not mean that we are free to do whatever we choose to do in the name of Freedom of Religion.  That kind of an argument is just plain fruitcake nuts, but there are some out there who believe and preach exactly that kind of nonsense.

These misinterpretations of what The Constitution actually says are why we have such enlightened resources as constitutional lawyers and The Supreme Court.

If some of the idiots out there who wave flags and ramble on and on about “Reclaiming our basic freedoms” or some of the others who run about like chickens without heads, spouting all their paranoid little fears about how the government is making slaves of us all had their wits about them, they would understand just how complex a document The Constitution is and that, if we are to have a government at all, the document needs interpretation by rational beings and not simply emotional ones.

The Constitution is, by no means, a free license to practice licentiousness or any other socially unacceptable activity under the guise or pretense of religious belief.

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that as Americans (And as Human Beings for that matter) we are endowed by our Creator with free will and that, according to the intent of the Founding Fathers, we are all intended to be truly free individuals.  But I also think that those freedoms are curtailed, somewhat, by a generally-accepted sense of decorum that has been agreed upon by the majority of Americans.

In other words, I believe there are limits on “Freedom” and I think there has to be such limits for the sake of the nation and the safety of the citizens.  These “Limitations” on Freedom (Moderating Factors) come to us in the form of something called “The Law Of The Land.”

In my view, Laws do not restrict our freedoms; Laws protect and perpetuate our freedoms.

I think this is a little different from what some of the fanatics on the darker side of Radical Conservatism are trying to get across with their rhetoric about corruption in high places and their often seeming frenetic push to get the Constitution “Interpreted” in ways that better reflect the wishes of The Founding Fathers.

Some of these folks who would revise the Constitution to fit their narrow-minded little vision of what Freedom is like or what America should be seem to think that our duly-elected Representatives have no authority to make decisions for us as Free Citizens and I believe with my whole heart and soul that this is what some of these revisionists want us to believe.

That argument is full of holes from it’s inception because it is for the very purpose of granting authority to someone to make decisions on our behalf that we take the time and effort to elect our politicians in the first place.  That is the job of the elected Representatives.

If, for some reason, the elected officials do not understand or don’t want to believe some element of Constitutional Law, then it is up to the voters to elect someone else the next time around– or to invoke the impeachment process if necessary.

I have been a citizen of The United States from birth and I have yet to believe that someone “Up There” somewhere is trampling on my Constitutional Freedoms.  I, personally, feel as free as a bird and I am most happy with America, Her Citizens, The Constitution, Our Form of Government and life in general as an American.  None of this paranoid claptrap that I have been reading about– the inane and empty-headed rhetoric about how America is going to the dogs affects me in the least as an individual.

My Rights are all intact and I don’t feel like I am being followed by Men In Black driving dark vans.  No one stops me on the street and asks for my papers and I can still drive across state lines without producing a visa.

I pay my taxes, read my newspaper, eat my three meals a day, play with my pet birds, work on my blog and I don’t worry that some government agent is going to knock on my door and ransack my house in the name of national security or some other pretext.

I am at a loss to understand where the Right Wing Extremest nut bags are getting all their crazy notions about how bad things are in America.

I have never seen evidence that a President has ever tried to dictate which of our beliefs or principles we are free to exercise.

What I will admit to seeing (And, like everything else I write, this is my personal opinion) is a very small but very vocal group of know-nothing Right Wing Radicals who have become extremely paranoid for some reason about the government and who are saying a lot of crazy, off-the-wall stuff intended to incite others to follow in the footsteps of their frenzied folly.

That is their right as Americans, of course, but it is useless, accomplishes nothing, is entertaining to a point and illuminates the reasons that I remain firmly committed to the rationality of Liberal, Democrat and Progressive politics.

Posted by John Liming strictly as his political opinions.

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John Liming - American Liberal Times

Author: John Liming - American Liberal Times

I am an American Man, 72-years-old, and a Veteran of The U.S. Military. I have served honorably in both The United States Army (National Guard) and The United States Air Force for a total of seven years and three months active duty during what is now known as The Vietnam Era. I am a concerned citizen and refer to myself as "A Crazy Left Wing Liberal Nut Case with occasional Right Wing Conservative tendencies. I am particular fearful that we might get to the point, in our internal power struggles where we would be a One Party Nation.

2 comments to The Constitution And Religion!

  • Just a thought but if the government specifically the executive branch is ordering you as a free American to buy a health insurance policy that covers abortion drugs and procedures of any kind, sterilization drugs or procedures of any kind and contraception of any kind and your religious belief’s contradict this order from the government then this is an infringement on the first amendement of the Constitution. Which specifically stataes; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That means that we can exercise our religious belief’s in whatever way we see fit without government interference of any kind. They cannot make a law which tells us which of our religious belief’s we can exercese, period. No, if’s and’s or but’s about it. As long as we are not breaking a law or actively harming someone it is up to our descretion not a bureaucrat’s.
    Tom

  • The one good thing about America is that it allows for diversity of opinion.

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