Tag: unconstitutional

Three Democratic candidates for Governor of Illinois who I won’t vote for in Democratic primary

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am currently serving a two-year term as an election judge in Vermilion County, Illinois, with the last currently-scheduled election of my term being the Spring 2018 primaries. This blog post is purely my opinion about a race that will be on the Democratic primary ballot in an election in which I may be called to serve as a poll worker, and is not, in any way, connected to my election judge duties.


I’m not going to publicly endorse a candidate in the 2018 bicentennial election for Governor of Illinois, although I will be a voter in the 2018 bicentennial Illinois Democratic primary, and there are three candidates who I will not be voting for in the primary, unless, of course, they end up being the only three candidates on the primary ballot.

J.B. Pritzker is probably the only Democratic candidate in the gubernatorial primary in Illinois who could probably outspend Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in the general election, but there’s a very possible chance that Pritzker won’t make it to the general election. One main reason why Pritzker could have trouble winning the Democratic nomination is that, in 2012, Pritzker publicly refused to support then-President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign well into the Republican primary campaign season that year. Even worse, Pritzker outright said that he wasn’t 100% supportive of the Democratic Party, and signaled that he was open to supporting far-right Republicans.

Christopher G. Kennedy is a member of the Kennedy political family, and he’s also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor here in Illinois. However, CGK had the gall to appear at a campaign event in downstate Illinois and proceed to support a major education funding proposal that would give Chicago-area politicians more control over downstate school districts:

Kennedy said he is opposed to funding kindergarten through high school public schools through property taxes.

“We need to get rid of that system. It’s a terrible system,” he said. “Every other state in the United States has figured that out. They pay for their schools at the state level and not through local property taxes and they have much better outcomes.”

Removing local control from K-12 education funding in Illinois would put all non-federal funding of public schools in the hands of a state government dominated by Chicago-area politicians. Needless to say, downstaters are not going to like CGK’s idea to put decisions regarding funding their community’s public schools in the hands of a Chicagoland-dominated state legislature.

Another candidate running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is Daniel Biss, a mathematician-turned-state senator serving the Evanston area in Cook County. Biss’s claim to political fame was supporting Senate Bill 1 (SB1), the unconstitutional state law that was designed to cut state public employee pension benefits in Illinois. While Illinois has a major pension funding crisis, SB1 was such a blatant violation of the Illinois Constitution’s provision prohibiting cutting earned pension benefits, even right-wing Republican state supreme court justices like Rita Garman ruled that SB1 was unconstitutional.

The other two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination that I’m aware of are Ameya Pawar, a Chicago City Council member, and Bob Daiber, a farmer and regional school superintendent from Madison County. I’m not going to tell anyone which of those two I’m going to vote for, but I’ve already made up my mind.

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Hillary Clinton’s claim on the rationale behind Bill Clinton’s support for DoMA is total bull

In case you missed it, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was caught red-handed trying to rewrite history. Specifically, Hillary tried to claim that the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, was a defensive measure designed to appease religious conservatives, who were pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have banned same-sex couples from getting married anywhere in the country.

A 1996 memo, written by Clinton Administration officials Jack Quinn, George Stephanopoulos, and Marsha Scott, gives some insight as to the rationale behind what prompted Bill Clinton to sign DoMA, which was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress with all but one Republican and many Democrats voting for it, into law. While the memo mentioned efforts to enact marriage equality at the state level in Hawaii in the mid-1990’s, nowhere in the memo does it reference any kind of movement to enact a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In fact, the memo clearly referenced the fact that Bill opposed marriage equality in 1996.

Chris Geidner has done a ton of research on Bill Clinton’s role in regards to DoMA, and he has found zero evidence to back up Hillary’s claim that Bill supported DoMA as any kind of defensive measure to prevent religious conservatives from enacting a federal constitutional amendment enshrining anti-LGBT bigotry in the U.S. Constitution. To put that another way, Hillary’s claim on Bill’s rationale for supporting discriminatory legislation that was struck down by a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court long after Bill was out of office is a bunch of bull.

I’m from an area of Illinois that is full of Religious Right extremists, and I’m very familiar with the Religious Right’s political modus operandi. If they had enough support to amend the U.S. Constitution to enshrine their bigotry in the Constitution at any point in modern American history, they would have done so as quickly as possible. Their whole political modus operandi is to do everything possible to shove their religious beliefs down everybody else’s throats. For the Clintons to try to rewrite history by claiming that DoMA was some kind of defensive measure designed to ward off the Religious Right’s attempt to enshrine their bigotry in the Constitution is flatly absurd.

Hillary Clinton suggests going too far on gun safety

Hillary Clinton, whether she knew the fact that Australia instituted a mandatory confiscation of assault weapons in the mid-1990’s or not, stated that “Australia is a good example” to model a federal gun buyback program after, and that a federal gun buyback program is “something worth considering”.

I want to make two points about this.

First, the gun proliferation lobby is, not surprisingly, attacking Hillary over her remarks right away. However, they’ve distorted Hillary’s words to make it look like she fully supports a mass confiscation of guns in this country. In reality, she’s not yet outright supported a mass confiscation of guns, but she did say that she would be open to the idea of supporting a federal gun buyback program of some kind. If the NRA starts running ridiculous spoofs of the “How to Speak Australian” Foster’s beer commercials, you’ll know that the NRA has no fucking clue as to what the fuck they’re doing.

Second, if Hillary does decide to fully support an Australian-style mandatory assault weapon confiscation, she would be running head-first into opposition from virtually the entire Republican Party and a large chunk of the Democratic Party. There’s two reasons for this. First, supporting taking legally-obtained firearms from law-abiding Americans is extremely unpopular in this country, even among Democrats and with gun safety being a major political issue in this country. Second, unlike the Australian Constitution, which has no provision banning the Australian Parliament from enacting a mandatory gun buyback program, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution would be interpreted by most judges, even many liberal judges, as banning the enactment of a mandatory gun buyback program in this country.

Make no mistake about it, I am not a gun nut or a puppet for the gun lobby. I support universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning the sale of assault weapons, requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement, and enacting a gun registry. These are my views, and they do not necessarily line up with those of any presidential candidate.

While my political views may not line up 100% with those of Bernie Sanders on every single issue, he’s the only reasonable person running for president when it comes to gun safety, and his views on guns are the closest to mine. He supports background checks, ending the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has suggested the idea of taking legally-obtained firearms away from law-abiding Americans, something that I think goes too far.

Time to abolish the United States Embassy to the Holy See – Tempus soluere Iunctus Civitas Legationem ad Sanctam Sedem transmittat – È ora di abolire la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede – Tiempo para abolir la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This article, originally written by the administrator, was originally published to DailyKos.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This article is provided in four languages: English (the author’s language), Latin (the official language of the Vatican), Italian (the official language of Italy, which completely surrounds the Vatican), and Spanish (the de facto national language of Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis). English is the primary language of this article, whereas the other three versions of the article are translations of the English-language article, courtesy of Google Translate.


With Pope Francis visiting the United States tomorrow, I’d figure that I’d take this opportunity to call for the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, also called the United States Embassy to the Vatican (although the embassy is physically located in Italy) to be eliminated by the federal government.

The Vatican is a sovereign country, but it’s not your typical sovereign country. The country is a tiny country, measuring only 110 acres in area, that serves only one purpose: serve as the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, which the Pope is the head of.

The fact that the United States is spending taxpayer money on an Ambassador and an embassy to a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion blatantly violates, in my interpretation, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

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.

(Establishment Clause shown in bold print)

While I’m not an attorney, I find it sickening that American taxpayers’ money is being spent on an ambassador and an embassy to the headquarters of the Catholic Church, which has repeatedly tried to shove its anti-abortion, anti-equality, and anti-science political agenda down the throats of everyone in this country, especially under previous popes. Furthermore, the Establishment Clause in our constitution could easily be interpreted as prohibiting the United States from engaging with diplomatic relations with a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion.

It’s time for President Obama and Congress to do the right thing and abolish the United States Embassy to the Vatican.


In Iunctus Civitas visitare Franciscus Pontifex cras hac occasione ego vellem dicere, quod instar pro Iunctus Civitas Legationem Sanctae Sedis in Iunctus Civitas Legationem etiam Vat (quamvis corporaliter Legationis sita in Italia) tolli per foederati imperium.

Vat potitus est, sed ne eam patriam summi ordinis. Depopulata est regio exiguo metientes solis CX acres in area, nisi in ordine ad finem mundi, ut sit principium, quo sancta Romana Ecclesia, quae caput est papa.

Quod an legatus Civitatum Foederatarum exigens pecuniam et legatos Arpinis purgantibus servit unice patriam et effrenate violat religionis praetorio ordinat in interpretatum Primo Emendatione Constitutionis Civitatum Foederatarum:

Congress faciet an nihil de instauratione religio, aut prohibendo liberum exercitium eius libertatem vel minuere vel typis vel ius convenire pacem populo, et orare pro publica censerent querellis.

(Ostensum est in instauratione Clause audax litteris)

Sed non sum Advocatus, invenio quod sensus American coeperat pecunia consumpta est legatione fungor in praetorium et Ecclesiae catholicae, quod saepe conatus rutila rerum agendarum ordinem politicae contra abortum, consilia cogitationesque contra aequalitatem quandoque deveniunt, inter obstantis et scientia per medium iugulumque in patria praecipue universum Orbem. Praeterea facile intelligi materiam Establishment clausulam in prohibendo confligendi publicas rationes cum Civitatum Foederatarum a patria religione ordinat praetorio exclusive sicut ministrator.

Praesent tempus Praesidis Obama Civitatum Foederatarum Congressus facere rectum abrogandi Legationem Vaticano agro.


Con Papa Francesco visitare domani negli Stati Uniti, mi piacerebbe capire che mi piacerebbe prendere l’occasione per chiedere l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede, chiamata anche la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso il Vaticano (anche se l’ambasciata si trova fisicamente in Italia) ad essere eliminati dal governo federale.

Il Vaticano è un paese sovrano, ma non è il vostro paese tipico sovrano. Il paese è un piccolo paese, che misura solo 110 acri nella zona, che serve un solo scopo: servire come sede mondiale della Chiesa cattolica romana, che il Papa è il capo.

Il fatto che gli Stati Uniti stanno spendendo i soldi dei contribuenti in un Ambasciatore e un’ambasciata di un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata palesemente viola, nella mia interpretazione, il Primo Emendamento della Costituzione degli Stati Uniti:

Il Congresso non potrà fare alcuna legge per il riconoscimento della religione, o per proibirne il libero esercizio; o per limitare la libertà di parola, o di stampa; o il diritto del popolo a riunirsi pacificamente, e di presentare petizioni al governo per la riparazione di ingiustizie.

(Clausola Istituzione indicato in grassetto)

Mentre io non sono un avvocato, lo trovo disgustoso che i soldi dei contribuenti americani viene speso un ambasciatore e un’ambasciata alla sede della Chiesa cattolica, che ha ripetutamente cercato di spingere la sua opposizione all’aborto, l’opposizione alla parità, e opposizione alla scienza agenda politica giù per la gola di tutti in questo paese, in particolare sotto papi precedenti. Inoltre, la clausola stabilimento nella nostra Costituzione potrebbe essere facilmente interpretato nel senso che vieta agli Stati Uniti di impegnarsi con relazioni diplomatiche con un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata.

E ‘il momento per il presidente Obama e il Congresso per fare la cosa giusta e abolire l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti in Vaticano.


Con Francisco de visita en Estados Unidos mañana, me imagino que me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para llamar a la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede, también llamada la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano (aunque la embajada se encuentra físicamente en Italia) para ser eliminados por el gobierno federal.

El Vaticano es un país soberano, pero no es el típico país soberano. El país es un pequeño país, que mide sólo 110 acres de superficie, que sirve sólo un propósito: servir como la sede mundial de la Iglesia Católica Romana, que el Papa es la cabeza de.

El hecho de que Estados Unidos está gastando el dinero de los contribuyentes en un embajador y una embajada a un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada flagrantemente viola, en mi interpretación, la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución de Estados Unidos:

El Congreso no hará ninguna ley respecto al establecimiento de religión, o prohibiendo el ejercicio libre de la misma; o que coarte la libertad de expresión o de la prensa; o el derecho del pueblo para reunirse pacíficamente y para pedir al gobierno la reparación de agravios.

(Cláusula de Establecimiento muestra en negrita)

Aunque no soy un abogado, me resulta repugnante que el dinero de los contribuyentes estadounidenses se gasta en un embajador y una embajada a la sede de la Iglesia Católica, que ha intentado varias veces para empujar su oposición al aborto, la oposición a la igualdad, y la oposición a la ciencia agenda política en las gargantas de todos en este país, sobre todo bajo los papas anteriores. Por otra parte, la Cláusula de Establecimiento en nuestra constitución fácilmente podría interpretarse como una prohibición de los Estados Unidos de participar con las relaciones diplomáticas con un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada.

Es hora de que el presidente Obama y al Congreso a hacer lo correcto y abolir la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano.

Bruce Rauner pushing more unconstitutional pension theft bills in Illinois

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is publicly pushing for more pension theft legislation here in Illinois, despite the fact that the legislation appears to blatantly violate the Illinois Constitution:

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday announced a massive pension overhaul bill that he said would save billions of dollars while incorporating reform ideas from various leaders.

The lengthy bill — all 500 pages of it — would cut retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters and public teachers. It would also give local governments a way to file for bankruptcy “as a last resort” after a review or the declaration of a fiscal emergency.

Cutting pension benefits that have already been guaranteed to our state’s public employees is explicitly unconstitutional, according to Article XIII, Section 5 of the our state’s constitutional, which states the following:

Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier this year that a pension theft bill signed into law by then-Democratic Governor Pat Quinn in 2013 violates the Illinois Constitution because it cut pension benefits that are supposed to be guaranteed to those who are currently publicly employees once they retire. Bruce Rauner, State Senate President John Cullerton, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are supporting more pension theft legislation that is likely to get struck down by the courts for cutting constitutionally-guaranteed pension benefits to our state’s public employees. While our state has a major pension debt problem, it should be dealt with without cutting benefits to current public employees and retirees.

Illinois Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY throws out pension theft scheme

This is a couple of days old, but I have great news to share:

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.

The ruling also reverberated at (Chicago) City Hall, imperiling a similar law (Chicago) Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through to shore up two of the four city worker retirement funds and making it more difficult for him to find fixes for police, fire and teacher pension funds that are short billions of dollars.

At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits.

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously struck down the pension theft scheme despite Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan basically arguing that politicians don’t have to abide by the Illinois Constitution, which contains provisions protecting the pension benefits that our state’s public employees pay into one of several public employee pension systems, if there’s a significant pension shortfall. The Illinois Supreme Court, which has four Democrats and three Republicans, ruled unanimously that the provisions of Illinois Constitution pertaining to public employee pensions do, in fact, apply to politicians who try to screw over retirees.

Make no mistake about it, the fight against the Quinn-Rahm-Ranuer pension theft scheme is far from over.

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to trade, it’s President Obama

After over six years of, outside of a few issues like Social Security and domestic spying where he’s sided with the far-right Republicans, largely relying on progressives as a base of support, President Barack Obama has launched a full-on War on Progressives by openly antagonizing opponents of proposed free-trade agreements, including the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that would destroy most of what little sovereignty America still has.

This is what President Obama said at an Organizing for Action (OFA) summit in our nation’s capital:

When people say this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about…I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families.

If there’s anyone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to international trade, it’s President Obama and his corporate allies in both major parties in this country. In fact, the fact that the TPP and other free trade deals and policies

For many decades, tariffs and other trade protections made America great by building a strong economy and manufacturing sector that provided middle-class jobs and American-made goods that Americans could actually purchase. Now, because of NAFTA, CAFTA, Most Favored Nation status for China, and other agreements and laws that have loosened American trade policies, most goods sold in the United States are made in foreign countries

Over the last three and a half decades, we’ve seen the effects of current free-trade agreements and other free trade policies between the U.S. and foreign countries, and they’re almost entirely negative. For several very brief periods in the early 1980’s, the U.S. actually had a very small trade surplus. Since then, because of free-trade policies that have been pushed by every president from Ronald Reagan onward and a bipartisan corporate coalition in Congress, wages in this country have been driven downward, the manufacturing sector of our economy has been annihilated, our trade deficit with foreign nations has exploded, the vast majority of goods sold in this country are foreign-made, and the American economy has become an economy full of low-wage jobs. Here’s a graph showing how our nation’s trade deficit has exploded since 1980:

U.S. Balance of Trade 1980-2015 (Graph Courtesy of Trade Economics)

For someone who professes to be a constitutional scholar, President Obama clearly doesn’t understand that the TPP itself and the fast-track authority for it are both blatantly unconstitutional.

The TPP itself is in blatant violation of Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the structure of our nation’s court system. Article III, Section 1 reads as follows:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

(emphasis mine)

While I’m not an attorney, I interpret Article III, Section 1 as allowing for the creation of a single Supreme Court of the United States and any number of federal courts that are below the single Supreme Court. Since the TPP would create the Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), a de facto court system that is effectively above the U.S. Supreme Court, this means that the TPP is blatantly unconstitutional.

The fast-track authority for free trade agreements blatantly violates a different part of the Constitution, specifically, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, which reads as follows:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

(emphasis mine)

Again, I’m not an attorney, but I interpret Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 as requiring approval by two-thirds of U.S. Senators who are present for such a vote, for ratification of any treaty negotiated and signed by the President on behalf of the United States. However, since fast-track authority, among other things, allows for free trade agreements, which I consider to be a type of treaty, to be ratified by a simple majority of members of both houses of Congress who are present for votes on such agreements, fast-track is blatantly unconstitutional.

I know I’m going to say something controversial, but I’m willing to say it: President Obama and his corporate allies in both parties in Congress have a deep-seeded hatred of the concept of American economic sovereignty, and they are pushing to enact a corporate globalization agenda in order to drive down wages, pollute our environment, and destroy the American economy without any regard for the U.S. Constitution or the American people. While some international trade is necessary due to consumer demand, globalization and weak trade protections are destroying America and our economy, and we certainly don’t need more of the same.

For President Obama to effectively claim that the overwhelming majority of those who twice elected him President of the United States are stupid is absolutely disgusting and traitorous.