Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Happy Bill of Rights Day – 225 Years Old

bill-of-rights-hero-lg-1
 

The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791, which makes today the 225th anniversary of being signed into law. The Bill of Rights protects the interests of minorities from oppression by tyrannical majorities. This is why we are not really a democracy, but a constitutional republic.

If a majority decides that a minority should not be entitled to the same rights as the majority, or promotes some rationalization of the difference as not being a valid difference, that minority can appeal to the courts for relief. On the other hand, there are no absolute rights, which would invalidate all other rights.

You can be executed for a crime you did not commit, even if you can prove that you are innocent. You have to appeal to the governor or president for intervention. As the Supreme Court decided –
 

Held: Herrera’s claim of actual innocence does not entitle him to federal habeas relief. Pp. 6-28.[1]

 

Due process of law does not require that the innocent be set free. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are not to be found in the American Constitution. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are not to be found in the Bill of Rights.

Rights also come with responsibilities. We need to respect the rights of others, no matter how much we might think that others cannot be trusted to make those decisions, while we claim to be able to make these same decisions, not just for ourselves, but for others.

If people of different races want to marry, the state governments are not permitted to use their authority to sanction marriages to deprive citizens of their right to marry based on tradition. States rights have limitations, just as individual rights have limitations.

Discriminating against citizens of a politically incorrect group for decades, or even centuries, is not a justification for continuing to deprive them of equal treatment under the law.

Others may use their freedom, which always comes with responsibilities, in ways we do not like, but that is part of the price of freedom.

Even though slavery was legal at the time of ratification of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, and is still endorsed by the Bible, we have recognized that slavery is bad. Our Constitution caught up with a lot of the rest of the world.

The Bible still endorses slavery and says that I can sell my daughter as a sex slave.

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. – Sigmund Freud

The Bill of Rights is much better than the Bible. Go blaspheme in celebration of the Bill of Rights, which protects us from those who would burn us, or our writing, or otherwise punish us for being honest.

Footnotes:

[1] Herrera v. Collins (91-7328), 506 U.S. 390 (1993)
Argued October 7, 1992
Decided January 25, 1993
US Supreme Court
Decision

 

In criminal cases, thetrial is the paramount event for determining the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Where, as here, a defendant has been afforded a fair trial and convicted of the offense for which he was charged, the constitutional presumption of innocence disappears. Federal habeas courts do not sit to correct errors of fact, but to ensure that individuals are not imprisoned in violation of the Constitution. See, e.g., Moore v. Dempsey, 261 U.S. 86, 87-88. Thus, claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence have never been held to state a ground for federal habeas relief absent an independent constitutional violation occurring in the course of the underlying state criminal proceedings.

 

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Flag burning, patriotism, and reality

flagburningtrump2a

Tweet by President-elect Donald Trump on flag burning
 

Is appearance more important than reality?
 

Why do people burn the American flag?

There may be many reasons, but the essence appears to be an attempt to shock people to recognize what the flag burners see as hypocrisy.

What is the purpose of prohibiting burning of the American flag?

Some people place more value in this symbol of America (the flag), than they do in what makes America great (the Constitutional protections of the rights of Americans).

Is President-elect Trump an opponent of the American Constitution? Is President-elect Trump just engaging in a politically correct theatrical display for people who do not seem to understand that the American Constitution doesn’t care if their feelings get hurt?
 


 

In 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed, the Alien and Sedition Acts.[1] These restricted eligibility to vote, restricted immigration, allowed for increased deportation of aliens considered dangerous, and made criticism of the federal government illegal. This is one example of Founding Fathers acting in a way that is contrary to what many consider their original intent.

Recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia voted in the majority to protect flag burning in 1989.[2] Did Justice Scalia hate America, hate the American flag, or is it more complex than an early morning tweet can express?

In 1943, during World War II, the Supreme Court decided on a variation of this concept. Is it Constitutional to force people to demonstrate patriotism?
 

To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.[3]

 

Real patriotism is not a politically correct compulsory display.
 

But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.[3]

 

The American Constitution does not authorize thought crimes.
 

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.[3]

 

What about those who claim that Americans have risked their lives, and even died, to protect the sanctity of the American flag? Does service in any branch of the American military contain any oath to protect the American flag?
 

(a) Enlistment Oath .-Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
“I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
[4]

 

The So help me God is optional, since there is no truth to the myth that there are no atheists in foxholes and the American Constitution prohibits all religious requirements for service.

The oath is to protect the American Constitution, which protects flag burning. The oath is not to protect the American flag.

Even Jesus stated opposition to this kind of political theater.
 

5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners [a]so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.[5]

 

What does it say about America that we reward theatrical patriotism, rather than respect for the Constitution which makes America great?

Or is President-elect Trump taking initial steps to try to get Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission[6] overturned by expressing that not everything is protected expression? Who can tell with someone who expresses himself in such a vague manner?

Is appearance more important than reality?

Footnotes:

[1] Alien and Sedition Acts
1798
Primary Documents in American History
Library of Congress page

[2] Texas v. Johnson, (1989)
No. 88-155
Argued: March 21, 1989
Decided: June 21, 1989
United States Supreme Court
case

[3] West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (No. 591)
Argued: March 11, 1943
Decided: June 14, 1943
case

[4] §502. Enlistment oath: who may administer
Text contains those laws in effect on November 28, 2016
US Code page

Amended in 1962 – inserted “So help me God” in the oath, and “or affirmation” in text.

[5] Matthew 6:5-6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
You can go to the site and look up all of the other versions of the Bible or just pick up a Bible and read this.
Bible Gateway
Bible

[6] Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
2009
case

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Who would have thought that a vacancy on the Supreme Court would produce so much unintentional comedy

 

First the facts. On the night/morning of February 12-13, 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia died of apparently natural causes. This is not really off topic, since this points out the ways that rules are made and politics can come into play in the masking of rules, protocols, and guidelines.
 

Antonin_Scalia,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait
 

Average life expectancy for an American male is about 79 years. Justice Scalia died about a month before his 80th birthday. Justice Scalia is reported to have health problems, which may have contributed to his death. Is it unusual for a medical examiner to pronounce death over the phone? No. There may be many variations from state to state, but working as a paramedic, as long as the circumstances are not suspicious, pronouncing death is done over the phone and arrangements are often made for the body to go to a funeral home.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 82 and her birthday is also next month. She may die soon or she may live another 20+ years. It will probably be something between the two, but we do not know where it will be on that range. Doctors do not exist to predict when someone will die. Doctors are supposed to provide appropriate treatment with the consent of the patient, or the person with power of attorney for the patient.

Justice Scalia was not in the best of health, but nobody appears to have been predicting that he would die right now. On the other hand, nobody should be surprised that a man of his age, with his health problems, died suddenly in his sleep. If you ask young people if they would like to die in their sleep outside of a hospital, at about 80, after living an active and successful life, would it be surprising if many said, Yes.? Justice Scalia was very fortunate.

President Obama was discouraged from making an appointment to replace Justice Scalia, because it is unusual for a Supreme Court Justice to die in the last year of either term of a presidency (an election year). It is unusual for a Supreme Court Justice to die during any year of a presidential term. Most of the time a Supreme Court Justice will retire and will try to arrange to step down without the political hubbub of an election year.

Many opposed to President Obama have stated that he should not nominate anyone to replace Justice Scalia. It seems they do not considered it important to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court for over a year.

Some have suggested that it is a tradition to delay nominations in the last year of a presidency, but where is the evidence to support this revolutionary approach to Supreme Court nominations? Has this tradition ever happened? What is an unprecedented tradition?

What about the original intent of the Founding Fathers? The Constitution does not have any wording to support a delay in nominating someone.
 

He (The President) 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.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.[1]

 

George Washington, nominated and appointed two Supreme Court Justices in his last full year in office. President Washington’s second term ended March 4, 1797.
 

President George Washington nominated (Samuel) Chase to the Supreme Court of the United States on January 26, 1796, and the Senate confirmed the appointment the following day.[2]

 

Followed by –
 

On March 3, 1796, Ellsworth was nominated by President George Washington to be Chief Justice of the United States, the seat having been vacated by John Jay. (Jay’s replacement, John Rutledge, had been rejected by the Senate the previous December, and Washington’s next nominee, William Cushing, had declined the office in February.) The following day, Ellsworth was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, and received his commission.[3]

 

Should we condemn the actions of President Washington as not reflecting original intent?

President Washington was succeeded by President John Adams, who nominated and appointed John Marshall with less than a month and a half to go in his term. President John Adams was also one of the Founding Fathers and George Washington’s choice for a successor. Should we condemn his nomination and appointment as contrary to original intent?
 

As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief Justice John Jay, who declined on the grounds that the Court lacked “energy, weight, and dignity.”[31] Jay’s letter arrived on January 20, 1801, and as there was precious little time left, Adams surprised Marshall, who was with him at the time and able to accept the nomination immediately.[32] The Senate at first delayed, hoping that Adams would make a different choice, such as promoting Justice William Paterson of New Jersey. According to New Jersey Senator Jonathan Dayton, the Senate finally relented “lest another not so qualified, and more disgusting to the Bench, should be substituted, and because it appeared that this gentleman [Marshall] was not privy to his own nomination”.[33] Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 1801, and received his commission on January 31, 1801.[4]

 

Those who support President Obama have pointed out that the nomination of Justice Anthony Kennedy was made in the final year of President Reagan’s term, but that was to fill a vacancy due to a retirement over a year and a half before the end of President Reagan’s term. Still, that did not stop President Reagan from continuing to nominate candidates until one was appointed.
 

On November 11, 1987, Kennedy was nominated to the Supreme Court seat vacated by Lewis F. Powell, Jr., who announced his retirement in late June.[11] His nomination came after Reagan’s failed nominations of Robert Bork, who was nominated in July but rejected by the Senate on October 23,[12] and Douglas Ginsburg,[13][14] who withdrew his name from consideration on November 7 after admitting to marijuana use.[15] Kennedy was then subjected to an unprecedentedly thorough investigation of his background, which he easily passed.[5]

 

Those are the facts.
 

Suppose President Reagan had six months left in his second term and a vacancy developed on the Supreme Court. Should President Reagan have left that nomination for the winner of the next election? Nobody yet knew who would win the election. The choice between Vice President George H. W. Bush and Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts would be half a year away and that is plenty of time for some unexpected news to affect the outcome of the election.

What would President Reagan do? What would President Bush (41) do? What would President Clinton do? What would President Bush (43) do?

While we can only speculate about what someone would do, there does not appear to be any reason to suspect that any American president would refuse to nominate someone under the same circumstances.

Please let me know if you are aware of any cases of any refusal to nominate a candidate to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

What I expect to happen is that the process will be dragged out and eventually there will be a vote along party lines to reject the candidate. I would expect the same thing if the parties were reversed (the president Republican and Enough Democrats in the Senate to reject a candidate). The Constitution does not require the Senate to be reasonable. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written because the Founding Fathers expect politicians to be unreasonable. The debate over this is nothing new.
 

The Supreme Court has become more polarized and the nomination process may have become even more polarized than the Court. Even Justice Scalia has stated that he would not expect to be approved in the current environment

How could the president use that understanding of politics in his favor?

1. Nominate someone who has a history of moderate in views, rather than liberal views.

2. Point out that the Senate is willing trying to keep the seat vacant for a year.

3. Frequently remind the eight justices, through others, that they are the full Court for the next year.

4. Remind the voters that the nomination is moderate, demonstrating that the opposition to the nomination is not moderate.

5. Use the Federalist Papers, and other writings of the Founding Fathers, to show that the original intent was never to support the rights of factions at the expense of individual rights.

6. Appealing to the judgment of the people who are appointed for their judgment is a way around the politics, but only if the nomination is not political.

Our next president will be just another politician, pandering to the polarized views that have been encouraged by the political propaganda of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News. This is an opportunity to set an example of doing what is better, rather than what is political. Eventually America will move away from our current temporary infatuation with extremes.
 

How does that relate to making laws, protocols, or guidelines in EMS?

There are powerful people in EMS. Some understand and pay attention to evidence, while others put aside reason and are suckers for anecdotes. Some can be persuaded with evidence. Some will find excuses to reject evidence. By addressing those who are respected and can convince those driven by emotion, more can be accomplished.

Ask permission to forward a PDF, or a link to the full text, of a paper that supports your position. Mention that you are interested in their opinion of the paper. Maybe some of them will read the papers. Maybe some of those who do not read the papers (we don’t have enough time to read everything we should) will feel guilty about not reading it and go along out of guilt. Follow up by asking what they thought of the paper.

While it is disappointing to encounter a broad lack of familiarity with the relevant research, this is an opportunity to provide objective information, which should persuade most reasonable people. Repeat as often as necessary. Most unreasonable people find it difficult to remain unreasonable when presented with valid objective evidence.

Footnotes:

[1] Article II Section 2
U.S. Constitution
Transcript

[2] Samuel Chase
FindLaw
Supreme Court Center
Supreme Court Justices
Article

[3] The Ellsworth Court and later life
Oliver Ellsworth
Wikipedia
Article

[4] Nomination
John Marshall
Chief Justice (1801 to 1835)
Wikipedia
Article

[5] Appointment to Supreme Court
Anthony Kennedy
Wikipedia
Article

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Deja vu all over again in segregation

 

I was just a little kid when Alabama Governor George Wallace gave his famous inauguration speech announcing segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.[1] I had hoped that we, in America, had matured and improved our morality in the last half century.
 


 

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore wants to prove that segregation, and other immoral acts, still get votes in Alabama.[2] The Alabama Supreme Court is elected and today the Chief Justice demonstrated that he will continue to pander to the immorality of voters. He was removed from office in 2003 for idolatry, but the voters support idolatry – as long as it is their version of the golden calf. Because tradition has arbitrarily limited the rights of some Americans, some Americans think that immoral tradition should continue.

These defenders of immorality claim that they are defending Biblical marriage. With so many forms of God-endorsed Biblical marriage, why do they defend only one form? Why not the polygamy that God approved of in the Bible? Why not the selling of a daughter into sexual slavery that God approved of in the Bible? Why do they leave out the parts of the Bible that they find embarrassing?
 

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [a]go free as the male slaves [b]do. 8 If she is [c]displeasing in the eyes of her master [d]who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his [e]unfairness to her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [f]food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money. Exodus 21:7-11[3]

 

What about all of the other forms of Biblical marriage that the God of the Bible endorses?
 

biblical marriages
Image credit.
 

Fortunately, we live in America, so these examples of Biblical immorality are prohibited.

Justifications of slavery are rooted in the Bible and an economic system that is so obscene that it is used as a metaphor for other, less bad economic systems, such as communism and Nazism. We had to defend America against a rebellion by those who wanted to expand slavery. It took half a million deaths in a war to end this Biblical immorality.
 

Justifications of laws prohibiting contraception are rooted in the Bible. Struck down by the American Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965.[4]
 

Justifications of laws prohibiting interracial marriage are rooted in the Bible. Struck down by the American Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.[5]
 

Justifications of laws prohibiting marriage equality are rooted in the Bible. Struck down by the American Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.[6]
 

To paraphrase what has been written elsewhere, The fact that I can no longer sell my daughter as a sex slave means that we have already redefined marriage. It is just one of many parts of eternal and unchanging laws of the God of the Bible that are illegal in civilized countries.

On the other hand, maybe these Christians are right. Maybe we should return to Biblical marriage. I don’t make much money as a paramedic and my daughter got her looks from her mother. The bidding starts at . . . well, make me an offer. It is the moral thing to do, according to the Bible.

When will we stop listening to Bible thumpers promoting immorality in the name of their interpretation of their Bible?

The American Constitution is in conflict with the Bible, because the Founding Fathers were more interested in fair play than in promoting persecution by the religious. The Founding Fathers could have limited the vote (and political office) to Protestants, but they explicitly forbade such discrimination.[7]

So many of these segregationists claim to disapprove of big government, but demand a big government to enforce their rules of watered down sharia. Hypocrisy seems to be required to defend such blatant immorality.

Footnotes:

[1] George Wallace’s 1963 Inaugural Address
Wikipedia
Article

[2] The Quixotic Adventures of Roy Moore – Alabama’s chief justice issued an order on Wednesday to keep the state’s same-sex marriage ban intact despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last year.
The Atlantic
Matt Ford
5:15 PM ET
Article
 

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an administrative order Wednesday that effectively banned same-sex marriages in the state, less than seven months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans violated the Constitution.

 

[3] Exodus 21:7-11
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Bible Gateway – A Christian site that allows you to use any other version if you like.
God
Link to these holy words of the God of the Bible

[4] Griswold v. Connecticut
U.S. Supreme Court
Decided: June 7, 1965
FindLaw
Transcript

[5] Loving v. Virginia
U.S. Supreme Court
Decided: June 12, 1967
Cornell University Law School
Transcript

[6] Obergefell v. Hodges
U.S. Supreme Court
Decided: June 26 2015
SCOTUSblog
Transcript

[7] Article VI Section 3
U.S. Constitution
Transcript
 

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

 

Highlighting is mine.
 

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Why is it a Less Serious Crime to Assault EMS, than Other Emergency Responders?

 

If EMS is not allowed to be armed, the laws should be fair.

Is an assault on any emergency responder less significant than an assault on any other emergency responder?
 


Image credit for original image.
 

Isn’t this the message that the Colorado Legislature has been sending?

Some assaults on emergency responders are more equal than others.
 

A house bill granting emergency medical technicians and paramedics the same protections against assailants as police officers and firefighters was referred to the Judicial Committee for further review Wednesday.[1]

 


 

I disagree with some of what is presented in the video.

While we may be assaulted by diabetics with low blood sugar, or other patients with medical causes of disorientation, this should not be the reason for the change in the law.

These are conditions which we treat medically, not with criminal charges. A patient who becomes disoriented is not legally responsible for behavior while truly disoriented, so this law should not change anything about the way that the law is applied.

We do not imprison people for medical conditions. We treat the medical conditions.
 

Currently, 38 states have passed similar legislation protecting EMTs and paramedics.[1]

 

What other 11 states that see a need for some difference in assault laws?

How did a majority of legislators (in Colorado and 11 other states) vote to treat assault on EMS personnel as less serious than assault on other emergency responders?
 

The bill must make it to the senate floor before the end of the current session May 7, or it will have to be reintroduced next year.[1]

 

Are there other emergency responders treated differently, if so, the law should be changed for them, too.

I do not think that EMS should be armed, because I do not see a benefit, while I see a lot of potential problems. If we are not armed as well as the police, why does the law make us even more of a target to those who are violent?

Does anyone oppose treating people equally under the law for the same offense?

Why?

Footnotes:

[1] Bill would make assault against paramedics a felony
Kelly Sommariva
KUSA
11:09 p.m. MDT April 23, 2014
Article

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