Free Speech Not Present at Some Universities

  by Walter Brasch Like most Jews, Benjamin Aaron Shapiro, a respected journalist, is an advocate for social justice, following the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam, literally translated as “repair of the world.” Unlike most American Jews, Shapiro is a conservative whose views of the nation are closer to those of Ted Cruz than of Bernie Sanders. Shapiro is a summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, and an honors graduate from the Harvard University school of law. He backs up his views and political philosophy with facts, historical allusions, and a strong interpretation of the Constitution. His conclusions and opinions, however, often go far outside what even the far-right believe. He says “Sesame Street” and “M*A*S*H” are left-wing propaganda, and … Continue reading

Violating the Constitution is Not a Public Right

    by Walter Brasch   For at least 17 years, the officials of Monroeville, Pa., a 30,000 population Pittsburgh suburb, have recited the Lord’s Prayer before every council meeting. This violates the First Amendment. And it’s not even a gray area. Finally, the ACLU sent the council a letter, threatening to file a lawsuit. The response by Bruce Dice, the city solicitor, was that the council will try its best to abide by the Constitution, and will make changes. Dice, who has been solicitor since 1998, says government “should not be sponsoring prayer or direct residents about religion.” At its Jan. 12 meeting, the Council will consider an ordinance to have different members of the clergy, representing different religions, … Continue reading

Three Commandments for Every State Capitol

    by Walter Brasch   The Oklahoma Supreme Court this past week ordered the legislature and the executive branch to remove a six-foot tall Ten Commandments granite monument from the front of the state house. The monument was placed there in January and is a direct violation of the First Amendment. The response by dozens of legislators, most of whom may be illiterate about the Constitution, was to call for the impeachment of the justices. The state’s attorney general who, presumably, took Constitutional Law in college, said he would appeal the decision. He, and many legislators, are also thinking of repealing the part of the state constitution that prohibits the use of public funds for religious purposes. The only … Continue reading

The Morality Police

By Walter Brasch In Saudi Arabia, the Mutaween are 3,500 public officials and thousands of volunteers who work for the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. They are responsible for enforcing strict religious laws. Among the many laws are those that require all women to wear head scarves and black gowns when in public. The “Morality Police” also exist in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several fundamentalist Arab countries. It isn’t only in Arab countries that morals are regimented and institutionalized. In France, the minister of health, a physician, believes there should be laws to prohibit companies and advertisers from using anorexic fashion models. He believes overly thin models—the ones who can make six-figure incomes by … Continue reading

A Swift Boat Load of Lies

  by Walter Brasch   “Gov. Tom Corbett, who claims he opposes legalization of marijuana, was seen behind a barn smoking weed. Just a-puffin’ and a-grinnin’.” “Tom Wolfe was speeding and driving drunk through the streets of York. If he can’t obey traffic laws, why would we think he’d obey the Constitution if elected Pennsylvania governor?” “That commie socialist fascist Kenyan Muslim in the White House brought Ebola into the country to get rid of White opposition.” The first two campaign ads are completely false. No one—yet—has sent out those messages. The third one, also false, in various forms is now circulating on the Internet and in bars. It really makes no difference if it’s true or false. It’s on … Continue reading

An Injunction Against the First Amendment

by Walter Brasch   Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., will be in court, Monday morning. This time, she will have lawyers and hundreds of thousands of supporters throughout the country. Representing Scroggins to vacate an injunction limiting her travel will be lawyers from the ACLU and Public Citizen, and a private attorney. The last time Scroggins appeared in the Common Pleas Court in October, she didn’t have lawyers. That’s because Judge Kenneth W. Seamans refused to grant her a continuance. When she was served papers to appear in court, it was a Friday. On Monday, she faced four lawyers representing Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., one of the nation’s largest drillers. Seamans told the 63-year-old grandmother and retired nurse’s … Continue reading

President Obama Re-Frames the Issue of Guns

In his press conference on gun control today, President Obama turned the gun rights/gun control argument in a very different direction, “away from the Second Amendment and toward rights and themes at the core of other foundational documents, as he unveiled his package of gun proposals.” By invoking The Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment, and the Gettysburg Address, President Obama “cast a new and different meaning on another familiar political phrase, the right to life.” “The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado,” Obama said in an explicit reference to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. … Continue reading

Intruding Upon the Constitution by the Religious Right Wing

  by WALTER BRASCH   Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky, of Peoria, Ill., ordered all parish priests in his diocese to read a letter to their congregations condemning Barack Obama. The letter, to be read the weekend before the election, declared that Obama and the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate had launched an “assault upon our religious freedom.” He wasn’t the only priest who used the pulpit to attack the President. Bishop David Lauren of Green Bay, Wisc., told his congregations that voting for Obama and other candidates who were pro-choice or who believed in embryonic stem cell research or gay marriage could put their “soul in jeopardy.” Others, primarily from evangelical Protestant faiths, were even more adamant in their religious intolerance, … Continue reading