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When Roger West first launched the progressive political blog "News From The Other Side" in May 2010, he could hardly have predicted the impact that his venture would have on the media and political debate. As the New Media emerged as a counterbalance to established media sources, Roger wrote his copious blogs about national politics, the tea party movement, mid-term elections, and the failings of the radical right to the vanguard of the New Media movement. Roger West's efforts as a leading blogger have tremendous reach. NFTOS has led the effort to bring accountability to mainstream media sources such as FOX NEWS, Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 92 million visitors - give him unique insight into the past, present, and future of the New Media and political rhetoric that exists in our society today. What we are against: Radical Right Wing Agendas Incompetent Establishment Donald J. Trump Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability THE RESISTANCE

Thursday, January 6, 2011

They Can Read, But Can They Comprehend?

It is unclear this hour whether Republican House Representatives will read the constitution today as if they wrote it, or as if they own it.

As we blog, house republicans intend to skip those little amended clauses, like the part about slaves being three--fifths of a person.

Progressives have seen an opening, and they relish the incoming tea party republicans ideology to forced House Representatives to read aloud from the constitution - the proof that their ideas about the constitution are wrong. This ongoing reading is embraced by the new speaker of the house, but was originated by tea party nut-jobs with the intent of these founding father worshippers who think that today's reading will somehow part the seas for their vision of the country to emerge.

Republicans might be in for a shock today, that is, if they even understand the words they will read. The ability to understand the constitution relies on the ability to understand words and that ability is by no means certain, especially with the hear no evil, see no evil ideology of republicans.

Mr. Boehner himself said last fall that we always hear members talking about swearing an oath to represent their constituents, when in reality the only oath we take is to the constitution.

Right now, at least, they hear the words of reality. What they will learn about the constitution, will they see the founders' original intent, for if they do, they may be surprise.

After ten years of the founding fathers' original plan, the articles of confederation which let the states run the show, was trashed, the thing substituting the constitution to create a stronger central government with powers was left both vague and specific.

Governmental power specifically is to raise your taxes and then to spend it on pretty much whatever the government wants. The power to regulate commerce across national borders and across state borders, the power to write the rules of naturalizing citizens, the federal power has even more power to ensure voting rights.

The 17th amendment took away the power of state legislatures to elect U.S. Senators adding to existing constitutional limits on the states, no separate foreign policies, no state currency, no taxing goods to or from other states and the list goes on.

During the mid-term elections we learned that many "tea party" extremist lack the very fundamentals of understanding the basics of the US Constitution. O'Donnell, Bachmann, ( Bachmann teaches Constitution understanding to newly elected tea bags) Angel, struggled daily while on the campaign trail with regards to the United States Constitution.

Most educated Americans learned the constitution in 6th grade, or at least by the time they graduated high school most had a firm understanding of the document. Apparently republicans missed these classes when given.

224 years ago, the U.S. Constitution was born, giving Americans the freedoms that they hold dear, the freedoms that men and women have died to defend.

And yet, despite its brevity (slightly more than 7,500 words, compared to the roughly 77,000 words of the first Harry Potter book) very few republicans know about the document which is the cornerstone of their way of life.

According to a recent survey by the National Constitution Center of 6000 republicans, 58 percent know that Bill Gates is the father of Microsoft, but only 2 percent know that James Madison is the father of the Constitution. About 64 percent of respondents know that “The Club” protects against car theft, but just 25 percent understand that the Fifth Amendment protects important legal rights. A whopping 59 percent can name the Three Stooges, while 41 percent can name the three branches of government.

And yet the republicans want to read the document today, which commences the first day of work for the 112th congress.

Republican Ignorance exists everywhere. I witnessed this lack of understanding recently when I was standing in line at a tea party movement event where a woman who objected to the gatherings policy of searching purses and backpacks. She indignantly told a organizer that her purse could not be inspected, citing the Fourth Amendment’s protection against illegal searches.

She did not know that, in general, the Fourth Amendment does not apply to private organization – only to governments. The tea bag organizer has a right to require a bag search.

Her mistake must be forgivable when you consider that even President Obama cannot get it right. During his first State of the Union address, Mr. Obama said, “...we find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we’re all created equal.”

Those words are great ones, BUT they are in the Declaration of Independence.

During his speech last year before the Conservative Political Action Conference, talk show host Rush Limbaugh said, “We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.”

Again, that’s the Declaration of Independence.

There is no good reason for the Constitution to be misquoted or misunderstood. Its genius is its simplicity. In slightly more than 7,500 words, it lays out the framework for the greatest way of life and most just legal system in the world. And its 39 courageous signers, in their wisdom, handed the nation’s ordinary citizens tremendous power. But never absolute power.

The Constitution is smart enough to not trust the president, either Democrat or Republican. It eschews dictatorship, laying out a tripartite government. It safeguards justice. The Constitution pioneered the do-over, allowing for amendments dictated by the will of us, the people.

If not for the First Amendment, you might not be reading this blog. And every champagne toast should begin with a nod to the 21st Amendment. All are grateful for the 19th Amendment, which came too late but arrived just in time, giving many the right to vote.

So, today, as the newly sworn in representatives read the document, we at NFTOS leave you the preamble to the United States Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”......................

NFTOS Post Script: Hopefully today is the day that the republicans finally understand the words and intent of our forefathers, and hopefully they will leave the document alone and not amend everything that doesn't align with their less than idiotic ideologies.

Reading is fundamental, and reading comprehension is a level of understanding of a writing which appears to be removed from most republicans, especially when the topic is the United States Constitution.

Everything not of the republican way is not "unconstitutional"! Hopefully this class of tea bags has more intelligence than we progressives give them credit for. Otherwise we are in for a long two years.

NFTOS might suggest to Ms. Bachmann's and her constitution classes; Use the teaching strategy/technique called SQ3R, which stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. Certainly America will be a better land if done so.