Friday, March 24, 2017

The Liberal Evolution of Due Process (Part III)

The case Near v. Minnesota in 1931, the Bill of Rights incorporation advocates got their first major win. Near wrote offensive claims in his Minneapolis newspaper and the state shut it down under a gag order. The Court sided with Near but more importantly, they said that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to the First Amendment “freedom of the press” clause of the Bill of Rights. Also in 1931, the case Stromberg v. California was another big win for the First Amendment being applied to the states. The case involved a young girl who worked at a communist camp and part of their daily ritual was to raise the Russian Flag. The Court declared that Stromberg’s decision be reversed because she had the right of “freedom of speech (expression)” which was granted through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to the First Amendment. Finally, in DeJonge v. Oregon decided in 1937, the Court overturned DeJonge’s conviction for having an illegal communist assembly. The Court declared that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to the First Amendment’s “freedom of assembly clause”. Therefore, the Near-Stromberg-DeJonge line of cases decided that all three freedom of speech clauses of the First Amendment applied to all the states via the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

With the success of freedom of speech cases, Bill of Rights incorporation advocates then attacked the freedom of religion clauses of the First Amendment. In the 1940 Cantwell v. Connecticut case the Court reversed the conviction of Cantwell (a Jehovah Witness) citing the freedom of religion clause. Interestingly, the Jehovah Witnesses won most of the 40 cases they held before the Supreme Court. In Everson v. Board of Education in 1947 the Court upheld a New Jersey busing law that allowed tax monies to be used to bus students to and from all schools (private, parochial, or public). The Court cited the First Amendment “establishment” clause in its decision. The Court was adhering to the federal government’s responsibility in separation of church and state. Following the Everson decision the Court applied all clauses of the First Amendment to the states via the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Other than Powell v. Alabama in 1932, the Court between 1930 and 1950 denied all Fourteenth Amendments due process claims applying to the criminal procedure amendments of the Bill of Rights. During this era and for a good portion of the 1950s, the Court applied Justice Felix Frankfurter’s definition of due process meaning did the individual get a “fair trial” and this was decided on a case by case basis. In Powell, the Court reversed the rape convictions of nine African-Americans citing the Sixth Amendment’s “right to counsel” clause. In Palko v. Connecticut in 1937 the Court denied Palko’s defense of the Fifth Amendment’s “double jeopardy” clause claiming he received a fair trial under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court case Adamson v. California in 1947 shed more light on where the court stood on the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the states. The case was a Fifth Amendment “self-incrimination” clause case and by a 5-4 decision the Court upheld the Twining decision. Justice Hugo Black wrote the dissent and said the Bill of Rights (amendments 1 through 8) should be applied through the due process clause to the states. Black wrongly asserts that it is was the intention of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the states. Justice Rutledge concurred but went even further saying the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause should cover much more than just the Bill of Rights. Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote the majority opinion again stressing the need for “fair trials” on a case by case basis. He also rejects Black’s assertions by stating if it were the intend of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment to incorporate the Bill of the Rights to the states then they not only had a bad way of stating it, there had been 80 years of precedent telling a different story (with the exception of the First Amendment). The case involving Oliver v. Michigan in 1948 was a Sixth Amendment “public trial” clause case denied by the Court. However, by the 1960’s the outcome of the Oliver case applied the Sixth Amendment through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment based on Justice Black’s majority opinion notes saying all people have the right to examine their witnesses, offer testimony, and the right to be represented by counsel in a public trial.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Liberal Evolution of Due Process (Part II)

In the 1890s the Court began to use the Fourteenth Amendment to uphold individual and corporate rights for property and contracts. This began with the 1897 case between Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company v. Chicago. This was an eminent domain case where the city of Chicago refused to justly compensate the railroads for confiscated properties. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause and the Fifth Amendment’s “just compensation” clause to uphold the ruling. However, both the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments declare that “no person shall be deprived the right of property without due process of the law”. This means that the Court could have simply applied the Fourteenth Amendment for its ruling and not hold the Bill of Rights applied to the states (but it did not). Another interesting aspect of this case is the Court ruled that corporations are people and are afforded the same rights – including having to pay taxes.

In 1900, the Maxwell v. Dow case tried to use the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause to apply the Sixth Amendment’s “trial by jury” clause to the states. The Court upheld the ruling that Utah could use eight man juries instead of twelve. Some believe this made the Courts ruling in the Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company an aberration (I do not believe so, since the Fourteenth Amendment mentions “property” and it did not have to apply the Fifth Amendment in the Burlington case). The 1905 decision between Lochner v. New York was more puzzling to many since the Court held that the state of New York could not legislate a 10 hour workday for bakeries. The reason the court reversed the New York decision was because granting New York that power would break a “contract” between an employee and his company. Contract is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights nor the Fourteenth Amendment. So how did the Court come to this conclusion? The contracts clause is found in Article I of the United States Constitution. Generally speaking, this clause was added to the Constitution in order to prohibit states from interfering with private contracts. The clause states that, 'No State shall...pass any...Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts... However, many argued that the Court applied the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause using what is known as “substantive due process” to reach its decision in Lochner since “contracts” have deep roots in American history. I do not believe that to be true, since the contracts clause covers the ruling. This case had other particulars such as big Bakery companies and unions trying to nudge out small bakeries and the fact the law only applied to bakers (could have used the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause?).

The Bill of Rights incorporation battle continued in the 1907 case: Twining v. New Jersey. The defense wanted to apply the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause to the Fifth Amendment’s “self-incrimination” clause to the states. The Court rejected the argument and sided with the State of New Jersey. However, the case opened the door for future cases involving the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights because they cited the Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company decision in its majority ruling.

In the 1920’s the ACLU and many other advocates of the Fourteenth Amendment and Bill of Rights state incorporation theory changed course and began to apply the First Amendment instead of criminal procedure amendments. The Schneck v. United States ruling in 1919 set an early standard regarding the First Amendment. Schneck was charged and convicted for violating the “Espionage Act of 1917”. Schneck wrote anti-World War I pamphlets and the court upheld his conviction saying there was a “clear and present danger” and did not protect his freedom of speech or press. The Gitlow v. New York case in 1925 had a similar outcome. Gitlow was a communist and the manifesto they handed out suggested the use of violence to overthrow the government. Gitlow’s defense tried to say it was free speech defended by the First Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Gitlow was denied because the Court felt Gitlow presented a “clear and present danger”. However, in Fiske v. Kansas a case involving the manifesto of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Court said there was no “clear and present danger” and overturned the conviction against Fiske. Interestingly, the case simply said that Fiske was denied “due process of the law” and did not tie the decision to the First Amendment.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Liberal Evolution of Due Process (Part I)

Liberals have a way of changing the definition of words to fit their needs. A good example of this behavior is how the meaning of the phrase “Due Process” in the Constitution changed. The meaning gradually changed over the century following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 following the Civil War.

During the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, James Madison wanted to include an amendment as part of the Bill of Rights that applied to the states. Madison wanted to prevent states from infringing on the rights of the conscience, freedom of the press, and trial by jury. The amendment was denied. Also during the ratification process of the Constitution Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers 78 and 81: That the judiciary branch of government (Supreme Court) is by far the weakest branch of the government since they can only hand down rulings and they do not have the power to enforce those decisions. In other words, the judiciary needs the executive branch to carry out their rulings. Hamilton explains the main purpose of the Supreme Court is to prevent the legislative branch from exceeding its power (not the states from exceeding their power). The court would declare Congressional laws in violation to the Constitution null and void (unconstitutional). Unfortunately, it was never discussed in these papers as to what happens when the Supreme Court says laws are Constitutional which obviously fail to protect the liberties of the people. In other words, the Supreme Court does not have unlimited power to carry out laws as they see fit.

In 1933 in the case Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court decided the Bill of Rights of the Constitution applied only to the Federal government and not the states. This ruling held until the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1968. To show the evolution of the meaning of “due process”, first we must show the two amendments the term “due process” appears in the Constitution (5th and 14th Amendments):

The Fifth Amendment states: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In 1873, for the Slaughter House cases, the Supreme Court essentially wrote out the “privileges and immunities” clause of this amendment and that precedent has held up through the present time. With the privileges and immunities clause written out of the Constitution, liberals had to focus all their energies on the “due process” clause of the amendment.

Many thought the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause was to apply the Constitutions Bill of Rights to the states. In the 1884 case Hurtado v. California the argument before the Supreme Court was to use the Fourteenth Amendment “due process” clause to guarantee the Fifth Amendment’s “right to grand jury indictment” clause to the states. When the Court rejected this argument it became apparent that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause was not going to be allowed to apply the Constitution’s Bill of Rights to the states. The Court held that the due process clause of both the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments had the same meaning. They further decided that the clauses throughout the Fifth Amendment were not repetitive or redundant. Hence, “due process” could not mean the same thing as a right to a grand jury indictment. This was known as the “nonsuperfluousness” theory.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What is Ailing Americans: Technology?

I worked in the technology field as an engineer for a long time. I worked in the field of analog to digital data conversion which made the whole digital revolution possible. I believed what we were working on was not only revolutionary but important because it would make our lives easier. After leaving the technology field, I believe I was wrong. I believe technology is a curse and is not only causing societal issues, but it is crippling our health. I remember being in a meeting many year back and asked what was the application for the data converter we were working on? The application specialist said it is to put a digital camera on a phone. I said “that is crazy and no one will ever need that!” Man, was I wrong. But I do not think I am wrong about the evils of technology. Technology leads to increased criminal activity in the forms of cybercrimes (identity theft) and hacking as well as being used to recruit terrorists and to report “fake news”.

Sure, technology does lots of good, but it has not made our lives easier. Since people are connected 24/7/365, they never get away from the stress of work. There is no such thing as a vacation. Hence, stress and anxiety in current and future generations is getting worse. Anxiety wreaks havoc on the body. With computers, iPhones, and electronic games Americans are sitting more than ever before and exercising less. The result of this coupled with bad eating habits has led to a massive increase in the rate of diabetes in America and around the world.

Electronic devices create electromagnetic radiation and create large power densities. Human contact with high levels of radiation or large power densities for prolonged periods of time will cause everything from headaches, sleep loss, and concentration problems, to behavioral changes, weakened immune systems, learning disabilities, and a doubled increased chance of getting leukemia in adults. We are all exposed to these harmful electromagnetic fields, they are running rapid in our homes and in our skies. The issue has even shown up in TV programs using the subject matter as a comedy routine (AMC’s – Better Call Saul). But, I do not think this is a joking matter.

I also believe the future will see an increased number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Why? Technology takes away from humans using our brains to think. Calculators stop us from doing simple math and there is no need to memorize anything anymore since we can find information about anything at our fingertips. However, I think GPS units in cars may pose the biggest risk to human health. We no longer have to read maps or understand directions. That does not sound like a big deal, but Alzheimer’s disease starts in the area of the brain where map reading would prevail. Will weakening this portion of our brains cause an increase in Alzheimer’s disease? I do not know, but my hypothesis is yes it will. I have heard horror stories of people putting in the wrong address in a GPS unit and then travelling thousands of miles out of their way and had no commonsense to realize something is wrong and then how to correct the problem. Sure, this is rare, but it is getting worse. We are definitely a directionally challenged society.

Social media has made us less social. Remember social media was developed by socially challenged engineers. Less physical experiences makes us less healthy according to most health reports on the subject. Some studies suggest that the home environment has contributed to the development of antisocial behavior. Parents of these children have been shown to display antisocial behavior, which could be adopted by their children. Antisocial personality disorder is seen in 30% of psychiatric outpatients. A 2002 literature review of studies on mental disorders in prisoners cites that 47% of male prisoners and 21% of female prisoners had antisocial personality disorder. The occurrences of antisocial personality disorder is higher among patients in alcohol and other drug abuse treatment programs than in the general population. What is in store for individuals developing anti-social behavior from technology? I do not know, but the possibilities do not sound good.

This year, the U.S. Life Expectancy rate decreased for the first time in nearly 40 years. Part of the blame was placed on the high rate of youth deaths due to the growing drug addiction problem. That is definitely part of it. Traffic fatalities are back on the rise mostly due to people not concentrating when they drive. They are too busy playing with their electronic devices. Ironically, technology has probably saved thousands of lives from car fatalities with new innovations, but despite these gains fatal accidents are rising again. Why? People are distracted and relying heavily on technology to drive our vehicles. Technology has expanded our life expectancies with advancements in medicine. However, I predict technology will lead to the demise of the human race and that of course means a lowering of the life expectancy rate. Increased rates of anxiety, exposure to electromagnetic radiation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and social disorders spell doom.

Friday, March 10, 2017

What is the Primary Cause of BFS/CFS

The following information has come from Juan Peralta. Juan has been studying BFS/CFS since being inflicted with the syndrome / disorder. Juan believes he has found the primary cause for BFS/CFS. I am not sure if that is true or not (it does not explain my cause and it is impossible to prove this without an extensive study), but it is certainly worth displaying what Juan discovered (of course with Juan’s consent) because it may help someone inflicted with BFS/CFS. What Juan suggests as being the primary cause for BFS/CFS appears to be a logical and reasonable conclusion. Below is what Juan has discovered:

CREATINE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (CDS)

GUANIDINOACETATE METHYLTRANSFERASE (GAMT) DEFICIENCY

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, speech difficulty, fatigue, pyramidal and/or extra-pyramidal manifestations, brisk reflexes, seizures and movement disorders, such as essential tremors, cramps and/or spasms and fasciculations.

POTENTIAL CAUSE

Hyperinsulinemia, compounded with hyperglycemic glycation (and/or damage) of the fragile renal tubules, results in overall fluid retention, manifesting as edema.

DIAGNOSIS

Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) and Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase (GAMT) Deficiency are part of the Creatine Deficiency Syndrome (CDS) spectrum. The biochemical test for Creatine Transporter Deficiency (CTD) is the urine Creatine (CR): Creatinine (CRN) ratio. A value greater than 1.5 is 100% specific for a diagnosis in males. Impaired function of SLC6A8 in renal tubular cells and subsequent reduced tubular re-uptake of creatine is the likely causative factor. Plasma creatinine concentrations, in particular urinary creatinine excretion, are low in patients with Creatine Deficiency Syndrome (CDS). The diagnosis of Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase (GAMT) Deficiency is made by finding an accumulation of Guanidinoacetate (GAA) greater than 760 nmol/mL in body fluids. Mutations in the GAMT gene cause Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency.

LIMITED TREATMENT

● Coenzyme B-Complex Advanced Vitamins (Brand: Country Life)

● Amino Acids (L-Glycine, L-Arginine, L-Methinone, L-Orthinine, Creatine Monohydrate)

TESTING

● Creatine 24-Hour, Urine

● Creatine Guanidinoacetate, Plasma

SOURCES

● Association for Creatine Deficiencies

● Movement Disorders in Childhood

● Mayo Medical Laboratories

● Inborn Metabolic Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment

● Journal of Insulin Resistance

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Power of Money (Part II)

What can we learn from these statics? Over half of all cases are frivolous. Furthermore, the frivolous lawsuit rate is backed up by the fact that nearly 80% of the lawyers in the world reside in the U.S. (they have to create cases to make money). Less than 15% of the cost of all tort cases is awarded to the litigant. Over 75% of the American population believes the legal system makes it easy to make invalid claims and therefore believe the entire system needs to be overhauled. Too many people view suing as a “get rich quick scheme”. Unfortunately, justice is never served in civil cases because payments made for damages are more than likely made through insurance companies. This means everyone is footing the bill, not just the guilty, through higher insurance premiums.

It is odd that people can sue because they believe their character has been defamed or deceived. Everyone’s character is defamed at some point or another in their lives. Some people who have been defamed will ask for astronomical compensation for damages they claim to have caused them a “great deal of mental anguish”. The bar is too low to meet a “great deal of mental anguish”. How can someone determine or measure the extent of the mental anguish someone is suffering? If a person can prove that their anguish or suffering meets those of a combat veteran, then they have a case. If not, they have no case. A veteran is guaranteed nothing after service: no job and not even decent healthcare. Can someone top that metal anguish or suffering? We are turning into a society of wimps who have absolutely no idea what it means to be in pain, to suffer, or to have mental anguish. Unfortunately, a great many of Americans are so narcissistic that they cannot place themselves in the shoes of another person who is really suffering.

If someone’s character has been unlawfully defamed or deceived but does not meet the “great deal of mental anguish” criteria then the guilty party should still be held accountable. They should be fined and or suspended from their organization, group, or company without pay. They should have a permanent record making further employment or participation in an organization, group, or company doing a similar task difficult. Justice should be served on the guilty party, not on the institution they are associated and their large liability insurance potential. Also, the law offices in losing cases representing plaintiffs should be responsible for court costs to prevent frivolous lawsuits.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Power of Money (Part I)

Federal and state governments do not answer to their constituents, instead they answer to money. Those with the most money and hence, the most lawyers and lobbying power win. This is a sad fact of life. Obama pledge to have a cabinet free of lobbyist and soon found that was a promise that was impossible to keep. Trump has had his cabinet members sign a pledge they will not lobby after leaving the administration for 5 years. That is not perfect, but it is a good place to start.

Liberals are not happy with the Citizens United decision that allows individuals and companies to pour an unlimited amount of cash into elections. The decision says money is a way to express ourselves and hence it falls under free speech. This is true. If people can express themselves legally by burning the American flag they can surely express themselves by buying gifts for others including contributions to campaigns. Interestingly, liberals have benefited more from this decision than conservatives. The Clinton campaign received over four times as much cash then Trump (not including the 85 million Trump donated to his own campaign) and a big chunk of that came from Wall Street. But despite being outspent nearly 3 to 1, Trump won, diminishing the power of money in elections for the first time. That is a good sign because it shows it is not necessarily the amount of money you receive, but how well you spend it. Trump managed his campaign money better than Clinton because he also had to overcome obstacles from established Republicans and the biased media.

Despite seeing some encouraging signs to diminish the power of money in politics, the same cannot be said of money in public life. I am solicited for money dozens of times daily by charities through emails, adds, commercials, phone calls, and so forth. Charities, for the most part, are good. But even the best ones only have about 60% of its contributions reach its intended goal. On average, less than 50% goes to the intended goal. That is not good. For this reason, I do not like charities, but instead like to donate directly to local causes when they happen.

Another alarming aspect of money is how much it is used in civil cases (cases where people, groups, companies, or organizations are suing another group, company, organization or person for damages -which often means for money) or tort cases which involve those where someone has suffered harm or loss. Here are some alarming statics:

Civil Lawsuit Statistics Data

Annual cost to the US economy for civil lawsuits $239,000,000,000

Estimate annual cost to each U.S. citizen for civil lawsuits $812

Percent of people who believe advertising by personal-injury lawyers encourages people to sue, even if they have not been injured 79 %

Average compensation payout for injury lawsuits $60,000

Percent of punitive damages suits won by plaintiff 6 %

Average awarded in a punitive damage lawsuit $50,000

Tort Lawsuit Statistics

Tort law deals with situations where a person's behavior has unfairly caused someone else to suffer loss or harm.

Average annual number of Federal court tort cases 512,000

Percent of tort cases that went to trial 2 %

Percent of cases won by the plaintiff 48 %

Percent of successful plaintiffs that received monetary damages 84 %

Percent of cases won in bench trials 54 %

Percent of cases won in jury trials 46 %

Average length of a civil trial 3.7 days

Federal Trials by Damages Claim

Motor vehicle collision 20 %

Products liability 13 %

Medical malpractice 10 %