We, The People

October 2, 2009

Dread has come upon us all.
   According to reports, “Humana Inc. is a major provider of Medicare Advantage plans. Humana sent a letter to 1.5 million customers last week warning that insurance reforms being considered in Congress could lead to ‘millions of seniors’ losing ‘many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare advantage health plans so valuable.’
   “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ordered Humana to cease sending customers such letters, which it characterized as ‘misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe it represents official communications about the Medicare Advantage program.’
   “Humana stopped the program and shut down the portion of its Web site that contained a form email customers could send to their congressional representatives.”
   As a result, Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus talked CMS into beginning an investigation into Humana, for really unspecified or at best vague discretions. Oddly, the AARP has conducted a much more massive campaign in favor of health care reform…and no investigation of that group has been ordered.
   Do you see the disparity in fairness?
   It gets worse. A school district in California forbids students to ride their bikes to school. A seventh-grader and his mom are challenging that silly notion.
   They pedal four miles, each way, challenging “the sedentary habits of todays youths and what they view as overanxious ‘helicopter’ parentin,” news reportes say. The school system actually called in a state trooper to meet them when they arrived at school.
   The school board is considering a change to this ridiculous rule, acknowledging that “the school has no legal responsibility over what occurs” on the road to school. Duh.
   Oh, and by the way, walking to school is also not permitted.
   California. What a concept.
   Government just seeks to love putting its nose into people’s business. In Michigan, a neighbor who watches three children for her friends in the neighborhood for an hour before school in the mornings was ordered by the state to cease and desist such a vile and criminal activity.
   They say the good neighbor is violating child healthcare laws.
   News reports say nder state law, no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers.
   Back in California, Los Angeles is fighting graffiti…by forcing home builders to pay for it.
   “All new buildings in Los Angeles – including homes – must have anti-graffiti coating under an ordinance approved unanimously by the City Council on Tuesday,” news reports say. “Homes in the tagThere is an exception if the owners promise to remove any graffiti on their property soon after it appears.”
   Owners who are vandalized by graffiti have 72 hours to remove it, or face a $550 fine.
   These are the folks, by the way, who already pay taxes for police to take care of such vandals.
   Ah, California!
   Here’s a fun one. Imagine this. It’s 1775. A group of people are standing around in Boston, discussing what the heck they’re going to do about King George pushing ‘em around. All of a sudden here come the Redcoats themselves, ordering them to show them their permit to have such a gathering, or disperse.
   That’s what happened at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh when protestors were driven away for not having a permit to assemble in the city.
   Granted, if you watch the video, there were some pretty freaky people out there. But the Constitution requires neither a permit nor being “non-freaky” to peaceably assemble. Though there was some throwing and rolling of trash cans when things got out of hand as police ordered the dispersal, they were charged with assembly without a permit.
   All I could think about was Kent States, and how I wish they had acoustic weapons and rubber bullets when they ignored the Constituion back then.
   Is it clear to you yet that your Constituional rights are being slowly disassembled? It’s not just since January, people: It’s being going on since McCarthy. It has its hills and valleys, but we’re definitely on a high, high hill right now.
   Perhaps the most disturbing news of all is that the Supreme Court of the United States will take up a challenge to Chicago’s ban on handguns.
   “The court last year moved in the direction of voiding tough gun control laws when it struck down a prohibition on handguns in the District of Columbia, a city with unique federal status.” news reports state. “Now the court will decide whether that ruling should apply to local and state laws as well. The court will hear arguments in the case early next year, and a ruling probably would follow in the spring. The court has said previously that most, but not all, rights laid out in the Constitution's Bill of Rights serve as checks on state as well as federal restrictions. Separately, 44 state constitutions already enshrine gun rights.”
   Why, do you imagine, does the Supreme Court reconsider issues at all? Are they not the highest court in the land, and their word the supposed final one on disputed legal matters? Are they incapable of making final decisions, or does the validity of their decisions change with the political climate? I think we all know the answer to that one.
   This is not the first administration to view the Constitution as an antiquated, out-dated document. That old piece of paper has been under attack for a long time, yet it has served us remarkably well over the last more than 200 years.
   Rather, it has served the people well. It does not serve the interests of politicians, big business, government run amok and special interests worth pecan. And do any of us have any doubt that was the plan in the first place?