WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. The court’s decision was narrow, and it left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment.
The court passed on an opportunity to either bolster the right to same-sex marriage or explain how far the government can go in regulating businesses run on religious principles. Instead, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion turned on the argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which originally ruled against the baker, had been shown to be hostile to religion because of the remarks of one of its members.
At the same time, Justice Kennedy strongly reaffirmed protections for gay rights.
“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts,” he wrote, “all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
Justice Kennedy often casts the deciding vote in closely divided cases on major social issues. When the court agreed to hear the Colorado case last June, it seemed to present him with a stark choice between two of his core commitments. On the one hand, Justice Kennedy has written every major Supreme Court decision protecting gay men and lesbians. On the other, he is the court’s most ardent defender of free speech.
The Office of Management and Budget has released new data on the amount of time Americans spend complying with the federal tax code. Tax Foundation summarizes the data here.
Individuals and businesses spend 8.9 billion hours a year on federal tax paperwork, which is equivalent to 4.3 million people working full-time and year-round on this unproductive activity. That “tax army” is three times larger than our uniformed military of 1.4 million active duty service members.
The burden of tax paperwork can be expressed in dollars. Based on the average earnings of U.S. workers, Tax Foundation finds that federal tax paperwork imposes a $409 billion annual cost on the economy.
The main reason to overhaul the tax code is to increase incentives for working, investing, and other productive activities. But you can appreciate how wasteful the tax code is by considering the paperwork burden of particular provisions. For example, the federal estate tax imposes $20 billion a year in paperwork costs, but the tax only raises $21 billion a year for the government. It clearly makes no sense to impose a tax if it costs as much to collect as the money raised.
The largest paperwork costs stem from the income tax. Tax Foundation has found that replacing the federal income tax with a simple flat tax would reduce the paperwork burden by about 90 percent. With that reform, Americans would be at peace with the tax code, and we could demobilize the tax army.
I hope you’ll join us on the 4th of July by reading the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse of your county, or perhaps at city hall.
We’ve set up a website, www.ReadTheDeclaration.us, where you can register your event so that others will know to find you. We’ll be promoting that on Facebook just to get out the word.
For nine years now we’ve been doing this in Hamilton County, Texas, and every year we have a larger crowd. Last year the County Judge joined us in reading – that was a first. We also read the Bill of Rights. We hope to have so many people attend that we have to go through it twice, just so everyone will get a chance to read a few lines at the mike. And this year we have a co-coordinator who has ladies baking cookies and plans to have free soda pop and cold water. People are requested to bring their own lawn chairs. Some years we give away copies of the Constitution, if we have enough on hand.
If you’ll drop a note or call the editor of your local newspaper, the chances are very good that they will send a reporter and a photographer, and you should ask them to run a PSA or a short article promoting it before the event.
If you ask veterans groups to show up, they surely will. Ask Boy Scouts and Trail Life groups to send a color guard. Etc. The thing is that even though we have lost many freedoms, we are still a freedom-loving people who need the seeds of Liberty to be resown into our hearts and minds. If America falls apart, as it appears to be doing, then more than ever we need to kindle this flame now, that we are going to be pro-active. The Declaration today reads just as pertinent as it did in 1776. Perhaps more so.
See you at the courthouse!
PS. Several people have asked me how they should go about getting a permit. Are you kidding me? We’re talking about exercising our fundamental Rights, as specifically guaranteed in the Constitution, to Assemble and to Speak! Free men don’t ask for permission to do what is their right! You just do it, and if the Gestapo wants to hassle you, well, that’s why the Press is there – another Right. They do NOT want the publicity connected with forbidding citizens the right to read the Declaration of Independence. I wish they would try. It would make a great story on our website.
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?( John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ]
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you. This might be funny if it weren’t so true. Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table, At which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule.
Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts anyway!
Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think.
Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears.
Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass.
Tax all he has Then let him know That you won’t be done Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more, Tax him till He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he’s laid…
Put these words Upon his tomb, ‘Taxes drove me to my doom…’
When he’s gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax. Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax Excise Taxes Federal Income Tax Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Fishing License Tax Food License Tax Fuel Permit Tax Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon) Gross Receipts Tax Hunting License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) Liquor Tax Luxury Taxes Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax Personal Property Tax Property Tax Real Estate Tax Service Charge Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Recreational Vehicle Tax Sales Tax School Tax State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’
In 1992 a coalition of Independent State Parties united to form the U.S. Taxpayers Party with the common goal of limiting the Federal Government to its Constitutional boundaries and restoring the foundations of civil government back to the fundamental principles our country was founded upon. Some of the State Affiliate Parties have adopted the national party name while others have adopted or retained a different name. In 1992, the Party’s presidential candidate, Howard Phillips was on the ballot in 21 states with Albion Knight Jr. as Phillip’s running mate. In 1995, the Party became the fifth political party to be formally recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a national political party. In 1996 the Party achieved ballot access in 39 states, with Howard Phillips as its presidential nominee and Constitutional scholar Herb Titus as its vice-presidential nominee.
In 1999, at its national nominating convention for the 2000 elections, convention delegates chose to change the party name to “Constitution Party” believing that the new name better reflected the Party’s primary policy approach of enforcing the U.S. Constitution’s provisions and limitations. Also at that convention, Howard Phillips was elected to be the party’s presidential nominee for the 2000 elections. Dr. J. Curtis Frazier of Missouri was selected as his vice-presidential running mate at a meeting of the Party’s National Committee over Labor Day weekend of 2000.
In the 2000 elections, the Constitution Party achieved full presidential ballot access in 41 states and qualified write-in candidate status in 6 others. This made for a total of 48 states where people were able to to cast their votes for Constitution Party candidates. In addition, the Party fielded over 100 candidates nationwide for offices ranging from the federal to the local levels of government.
The challenges our nation faces are significant and pervasive. Therefore, the Constitution Party is focused on identifying, training and preparing candidates for future elections at all levels of government, starting at the local level on up. In light of the widespread need across the country, the party is fully dedicated to building party strength and organization at the State, County and local level.
The Constitution Party stands firmly on the principles of government laid down by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Unlike other political organizations, we do not believe these principles are outdated. We also recognize that the Constitution of the United States of America is actively the supreme law of the land and must be enforced. Our government has become a problem because these principles are ignored and not followed and that the people have allowed this to occur. We need a return to a government that is limited in its scope and structure; protects all innocent life; protects liberty, not suppresses it; and allows the free pursuance of happiness, not regulation of it. In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence it is time to remove power from that ‘faraway’ government in Washington, D.C. and return it to the people, states and local communities.
Our nation is at a critical crossroad and the need for a national political party that will represent and stand for the Constitution as well as what is right is greater than ever. In light of this, we urge you to get involved now and lend what support you can. The future of our nation may hang in the balance.
So get ready to hold or attend precinct conventions and county convention meetings and help collect signatures on petitions beginning March 12 to get us on the ballot.
Marine Corps veteran Michael Bishop has filed his candidacy for governor of Texas under banner of the Constitution Party. Bishop, 65, is a resident of Nacogdoches County and a retired chemist. He is married and has four children. “My goal is to return the State of Texas to the principles on which it was founded, restoring sound economic principles and individual liberty to her citizens.” See TV coverage at: http://www.ktre.com/story/24197434/pipeline-opponent-files-for-texas-governor
Gregg Woodcock, 45, from Sachse, Dallas County, filed for Texas State Representative District 112. Gregg is a computer programmer. He and his wife home school three children and are active in church and various community activities.
Mark your Calendars:
March 11 – Precinct conventions
March 12 – Ballot Access drive begins – 10 weeks
March 15 – County Conventions
April 12 – State Convention
I plan to email detailed information which explains how to conduct conventions. If you have never attended a precinct or county convention meeting, don’t be intimidated. They are very simple to conduct.
Polls indicate most folks and even prominent talk radio hosts are fed up the two party duopoly.
Our State Convention will be on April 12 in Haltom City, a suburb of Fort Worth. We are looking for Patrons to donate $250 and Sponsors to donate $100 to help cover costs and keep admission and food prices low.
If you have not paid dues lately, please do so. Dues have always been voluntary and much appreciated. We have expenses like any organization and need to do old fashion mailing which has not been done for some time.